Saturday, August 15, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Now that the Red Sox delayed one of their games because of a drone - how many games will be have to be delayed or cancelled now that MIT students know this and have lots of extra time on their hands this upcoming semester?...  "Dogs bark at what they cannot understand." - Heraclitus... Wait - it's not Batman twerking?... Richard Feynman, one of the top 5 minds of the 20th century, was tested in high school as having an IQ of 125. Goes to show what IQ tests are worth... "The habit of committing far more time to learning and thinking than doing is no accident." - Charlie Munger... Had my first Pumpkin Spice (Shipyard) beer of the year last night. Every year they seem to release them one week earlier than the last...  James Altucher on why NYC will not recover from this. He makes a lot of good point (especially the one on bandwidth) and could have gone into more detail on others (like taxes). People making the argument that this industry or that industry will return to NYC remind me of those who kept believing that auto manufacturing would again boom in Detroit... 

Linky Links

 Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Ryan Holiday - 9 short quotes that changed my life and why

- AMC movie theaters to re-open August 20th with $.15 tickets

- SpaceX Starlink early adopter bandwidth speeds leaked.

- Heh Heh

- Amazing 91-year old gymnast 

- Israel, UAE reach historic peace deal

Things Freud Should Have Said


Friday, August 14, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The disinterest in sports and the cancellation of a number of college football conferences will have another effect that will have long term repercussions. Many people cling to cable TV mainly for the RSN's (Regional Sports Networks) such as NESN (Red Sox and Bruins), YES (Yankees), The Big 10 Network, etc. Look for the number of people "cutting the cord" to greatly increase in the next six months or so largely due to people not caring about sports or not having access to games to actually watch... Victor David Hanson on Who or What Exactly is Running Against Trump?. The line I really enjoyed was about Kamala Harris "hovering and rummaging about as in impatient President in waiting"... The revenue generated from the RSN subscription fees are largely what have driven the great increase player salaries over the past two decades. Now a lot of that revenue will go POOF. Look for pro contracts in baseball, basketball, and hockey to be for less money and fewer years in the near future... History repeats itself? A hundred years ago the most popular sports in America were baseball, boxing, and horse racing. Football, basketball and hockey were very much niche sports (with college football being much more popular than pro football). Today the UFC is gaining in popularity and has been the most popular TV sport during the pandemic while it could be argued that basketball and hockey are reverting to niche sports... What does Taylor Swift think about the choice of Kamala Harris as VP? How come she hasn't spoken out? What is she trying to hide?... 

Farnam Street Knowledge


- Yes, It's Your Fault: Active vs Passive Mindsets

- The Stormtrooper Problem: Why Thought Diversity Makes Us Better

- How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught. Effective multi-tasking is a myth.

Heh Heh


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Linky Links

 Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- A Leftist explains why he's not exactly jazzed by Kamala Harris

- Why the US Army's V Corps moving its HQ to Poland is important

- Execupundit looks at the traits of a Fanatic. If you find that any of these traits describe yourself then it is time for some serious self-evaluation. If they describe any of the people in your circle of friends - it may be time to find new friends.

- So cool - good for him! Also love how the Aussies call them "scratchy tickets."

- Heh Heh - Kamala Harris already vetting VP picks

- NFL considering adding Friday night games. I've long predicted a Saturday night slate of games but I think trying to add Friday night as well would be a mistake in many ways.

The Wrong Enemy vs the Right Enemy


Agree 100% with the above. Hat tip to Russ Roberts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Long Ships

 Recently finished the book The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson. I heard about the book as a recommendation author Michael Lewis made on The Tim Ferriss Podcast (also highly recommended). I went out bought the book, read it, and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Perhaps the best way to describe it is if  JRR Tolkien wrote about Viking adventures instead of wizards and elves. Another parallel to Tolkien is that The Long Ships was originally two books about the adventures of Red Orm but was made into one longer book for US audiences. Whereas Tolkien's masterpiece was one book made into three by the publishers.  

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

A good idea for an app would be something that takes your Amazon book Wish List and allows you to compare it to the inventory of any used bookstore you visit to see if they have any of the books you're interested in. Of course the used bookstore would have to have an actual digital inventory of their books which in most cases is not the case... Scrotal Charisma would be a good name for a band... "A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought - they must be earned." - Naval Ravikant... My guess is that when the NBA's ratings continue to tank you will see the social justice messages disappear on the back of the uniforms and you will suddenly see lots of players doing PSA spots about supporting the police and the military...Heh Heh... How many Boston Bruins fans are calling in sick today?... For everyone excited by the prospect of Kamala Harris debating Mike Pence - they understand that the VP Debate only happens if Joe Biden debates President Trump first right? Team Biden doesn't seem too enthused about that do they?...  

Linky Links

 Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

Interesting look at the Master Class phenomenon

Excellent point!

New study finds Sweden's refusal to lock down saved the economy without sacrificing lives

How about NO THANK YOU!

Army V Corps HQ to be moved to Poland

California will be paying $1,250 to people who test positive for Covid-19. The people who run California have no idea how incentives work.

This made me laugh

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Top 5 - Football Predictions

 Unlike most football predictions these have nothing to do with who will win what game, end up in the championship or win the Super Bowl. Sports will never be the same again after 2020 and these predictions have to do with those changes.

1. The NFL is bleeding revenue since indications are there will be no or limited fans in the stands this season. To recoup that revenue the NFL will move some games to Saturday night and put that package of games out to bid. (I've been making this prediction since June.)

2. I expect the NFL to have a new Commissioner by Super Bowl LVI and that almost any university that finished in the Top 20 in the polls in the last two-years but who does not play football this fall with have a new University President by the Fall of 2021.

3. A number of teams (both pro and college) will utilize hydroyxchloroquine and zinc as prophylactics this fall and those teams will do much better than the teams that don't.

4. College football teams and conferences who do not play this fall will be at a big disadvantage for years to come in recruiting high school players. Not playing will cost millions not just this season but for a decade to come as top players flock to schools and conferences that decided to play this year. If you're a top high school player in California why would you go to USC if the conference or the State prohibits football this fall? Why not go to a school in Florida, Texas or Georgia that values football the same way that player does? 

5. States that allow football will vote for Republicans in the November election (Texas, Florida, Georgia) while States that vote to shut down sports in the Fall will vote for new leadership (where a choice is available). Some States that are purple right now will end up being solidly Red. Some pundits (looking at you Pat Forde) will try to blame the lack of football on President Trump but those with a grain of common sense will understand that it wasn't Trump who allowed football to be played in Texas but not in California. 

Bonus prediction: the number of people who play fantasy football will be down 30-50% year over year because of the way the NFL handled kneeling during the anthem and because football is no longer that important to people.

I'm a big sports fan (or at least I was) but this weekend I didn't watch a minute of a single game although the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics were all playing. That would have been unfathomable before 2020. Last night I was in a sports bar and it wasn't until the third inning was in progress that someone requested the Red Sox be put on the TV's. There's a big reckoning coming for sports revenue because people have learned that they can live without it.

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Dallas Mavericks owner (does the NBA still use that word?) Mark Cuban recently boasted on Twitter that the NBA's prime time ratings were better than Fox News' Tucker Carlson in the 18-49 demographic by 215%. If you told me a few months ago that Mark Cuban would consider beating a Fox News show in a certain demographic (Tucker Carlson's overall ratings were MUCH better than he NBA's) a "win" then I would have said that things were not going well for the NBA... Happy belated 92nd birthday to NBA legend and Worcester's own Bob Cousy who celebrated the big day on Sunday... "People who are brutally honest generally enjoy the brutality more than the honesty." - Richard Needham... It would be interesting to see a study of who "dosed" more unsuspecting people in the 1960's with LSD - the Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia was notorious for this) or the CIA under project MK Ultra... The word "overmorrow" means the day after tomorrow. What a great word! How come we never use the word overmorrow anymore?... "You must always be willing to work without applause." - Ernest Hemingway... It would be interesting to look back at the comedians, pundits and celebrities who mocked Ronald Reagan for being old and forgetful as he departed office. Joe Biden is basically the same age as Reagan when he left office yet these same people seem to be oddly quiet about this...

Kurt Vonnegut and the Shape of Stories

Monday, August 10, 2020

Linky Links

 Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- The Spies Who Hijacked America. Must reading for anyone who has followed Russiagate. More background from Matt Taibbi here.

- SpaceX deserves to be celebrated. Agree 100%! Elon Musk and astronauts Bob Behken and Doug Hurley all deserve to be awarded th Presidential Medal of Freedom for this accomplishment.

- The mechanics of President Trump's Payroll Tax Deferment Memorandum

- Niall Ferguson makes a good point about China and TikTok

- Funny because it is so often true! Consulting Firm Recommends Keeping Consulting Firm on for 6 More Months

- Wow - for every 3 Covid-19 deaths in England, lockdown may have caused an additional 2

- Saying farewell to Pete Hamill

Farnam Street Knowledge


- The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention

- James Cash Penney and the Golden Rule. Some very good life advice.

- The Ingredients for Innovation

Joe Rogan on the Biggest Mistake People Make

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Jesus' First Miracle

Decades ago it was a Friday afternoon and my fraternity was having a "social" at one of the sororities. There was a problem with their tap to the keg so me and a buddy agreed to walk back to our house to get one of ours.

We filled a red solo cup for the short walk home. When we arrived there were three young men in white dress shirts and solid ties waiting for us.

"Jesus wouldn't be happy with what you are doing" one of them said nodding at our Solo cups full of beer.

"Oh really?" said I. "What was Jesus' first miracle?" The man who had spoken knew he was beat. "That's right" said I. "Now get the fuck off my lawn."

They left without a word. My friend was impressed but puzzled. "What was Jesus' first miracle?" he asked.

"Turning water into wine for a party." We grabbed one of our taps, went back to the party and had a great time.

Have a great Sunday. Drink some beer. Jesus would approve.

Brains! I Mean Masks!

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Two years ago at about this time Tesla stock dropped below $300 a share. Talk about missed opportunities... Travel mugs are basically sippy cups for adults... People with those "coexist" bumper stickers are usually the worst drivers on the road. How about learning to coexist with the other cars on the road then you can make your political statements... Friend left his laptop open and walked away so I added "Author 'Harry Potter and the Cave of Pleasures' Erotic Fan Fiction" to his business email signature. I'm sure he'll notice in a week or two... A reminder of one of the dumber "hot takes" which went along with Tesla's stock dipping below $300 a share. Also a reminder that Tesla will never advertise in Road & Track... Scott Peterson was sentenced to death in 2004 for killing his wife Laci. He's still on death row! Get it over with already! I'm sorry but I can't help but feel that if this fuck dies of natural causes it will be like he got away with it... Just kidding about my friend's laptop (or was I?)... 

Paul Dirac

Born on this day 118-years ago one of the greatest, most underappreciated minds of the 20th century - Paul Dirac.

Here's his bio from the Nobel Prize folks.

He was a man of few words but his math and equations were poetry.

His biography The Strangest Man was a fascinating read if you're a fan of physics.

Here's a link to his 1963 article in Scientific American The Evolution of the Physicist's Picture of Nature.  The article is a (very) long read but conversely it gives you both a succinct history of modern physics and a good taste of the genius of Paul Dirac.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Top 5 - Quotes for Today

No rhyme or reason for picking these quotes - just hope one or or more resonate with you:

"The game of life is the game of everlasting learning. At least it is if you want to win." - Charlie Munger

"God will not have his work made manifest by cowards." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The best place to store food is in the belly of a friend." - African proverb

"The Democratic Party in power is a standing menace to the prosperity of the country." - Republican motto from the 1888 election

"You are 99 years old, you are on your deathbed, and you have a chance to come back to right now: what do you do?" - Christopher Carmichael

Is the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything Actually 137?

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the answer to the question of "life, the universe, and everything" is given as 42 by Deep Thought.  Douglas Adams may have had a very specific reason for choosing the number 42.

But maybe, just maybe there's a much better number that fits the answer to the big question.

"There are some fundamental constants in nature: the charge on the electron (designated as e), Planck's constant divided by 2 π (designated by h-bar) and the velocity of light (c). From these fundamental constants one can construct a number that has no dimensions: the number h-bar * c / e ^ 2. That number is found by experiment to have the value 137, or something very close to 137. Now, there is no known reason why it should have this value rather than some other number. Various people have put forward ideas about it, but there is no accepted theory." - Paul Dirac.

Thinking of making 137 my new lucky number (and the answer to any question I have no clue about).

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Perhaps the common sense reason that Joe Biden hasn't announced his choice for VP is that Team Biden knows that as soon as the pick is made public that the other candidates who were not chosen will have their knives out to stab the Biden Campaign in the back (using insider knowledge gained during the vetting process). It also could be that the delay is being caused by Team Biden members trying to negotiate positions for themselves with the VP choice because they know that person will be the defacto top of the ticket... After blast, Lebanon may have only a month's grain reserve left. I hope the Trump Administration and the American people are generous in helping feed those affected... "Let all your activity be directed to some object, let it have some end in view." - Seneca... I cut the cord with cable TV over 7-years ago and one of the things I enjoy most about not having cable is not having to be bombarded by political ads incessantly every 4-years...  "Improvement begins when you have the discipline to confront the facts." - Shane Parrish... Feel sorry for any pool hall or bowling alley struggling during the lock-down. Many will never recover from this and have to close forever.. 

Linky Links

Stuff I thought was interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Ex-Google engineer Levandowski's jump to Uber ends in prison. "Levendowski's guilty plea, after reaching a deal with prosecutors earlier this year, leaves him a bankrupted convicted felon." This seems to have the making of a good movie script.

- Detailed look at early treatment with hydroxychloroquine. Bottom line the groups treated with hydroxychloroquine had a 79.1% lower chance of death. 

The Day Bill Gates Saved Apple

23-years ago Bill Gates and Microsoft basically saved Apple from going out of business.

Steve Jobs had just come back to Apple Computer (as it was known then) and the company was almost out of cash. Bill Gates not only infused the company with $150 million but he also pledged that Microsoft would supply MacIntosh versions of Microsoft Office for at least 5-years.

This saved Apple from going out of business. The shares Gates received were market price and non-voting stock. Microsoft sold their stake in Apple in 2003 but if they had kept the stock it would be worth about $60 billion today.

Gates probably doesn't mind because he has so much money. And besides the reason he made the investment in Apple in the first place was to ward off Federal anti-trust lawsuits - which the investment in his competitor helped accomplish.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- China's failed satellite launch and some implications. This bothered me, "China will sell launch services to just about anyone who can pay, no questions asked." All it would take is one rogue pinball low earth orbit satellite to cause tremendous amounts of damage.

- The Global Environmental Apocalypse Has Been Cancelled. "On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years." 

- This letter makes a lot of good points. And raises a lot of excellent questions that deserve answers.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Would love to see Charlie Sheen take over the Ellen Show. That would be a train wreck worth tuning into... "We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject." - Thomas Aquinas... Simple solution - the Democrats simply list their nominee for President on all ballots as just J. Biden and if elected Jill Biden (technically J. Biden) takes over the White House and Joe is put into a "home"... Bill DeBlasio threatens to lay off 22,000 city workers if Feds don't give NYC bailout money. Not to be outdone - Andrew Cuomo threatens to house the laid off workers in nursing homes if Feds don't give state bailout money... "Can someone explain to me the technical difference between anarchists and the mentally ill? Is it a branding thing?" - Scott Adams with a couple of excellent questions... 

Farnam Street Knowledge


Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

If the Democrats do want to replace Joe Biden at the top of the ticket then they are going to need to do it at the Convention in August in Milwaukee. But if they have the Convention they run the risk of all the crazies in the Party acting crazy in the national spotlight. But if they try to replace Biden without a Convention then the Democrats will look like elitists running things behind the curtains and the confidence of the rank and file will be shattered... "What ever crushes individuality is despotism, no matter what name it is called." - John Stuart Mill... It has been widely reported that gun and ammunition sales are way up due to the Wuhan virus, riots and the "defund the police" rhetoric. I'd be curious if sales of Carhartt clothing is also up as these new gun owners try to adopt a look they think is common among their more blue collar brethren. "Look at me - I have a Carhartt jacket that means I know how to handle myself!"... Saw a local news story about their in-house political poll which was conducted by Survey Monkey. Survey Monkey! And people wonder why local news isn't taken seriously... The book I'd like to read is a fictional autobiography of Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch. First person just like the book Grendel by John Gardner... "I don't spend my time pontificating about high-concept things; I spend my time solving engineering and manufacturing problems." - Elon Musk...

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Offshore wind power a vast boondoggle that New York can no longer afford. As an aside the Town of Princeton MA pays the highest electric costs in the State because years ago they installed a couple of windmills now known as the White Elephants because they no longer work (but the Town is still paying for them)

- South Dakota expects 250,000 bikers for Sturgis rally. This will be interesting to watch. Also interesting despite the huge cuts to State revenues across the US (average down 29%) - South Dakota's State revenue is up 1-2% during the Wuhan virus pandemic.

- Japan upping its air defense with a big F-35 order. China has been pushing its "neighbors" and its not surprising that these neighbors like Japan are preparing to push back.

- Interesting - is Patreon in danger of being destroyed? Go Woke Go Broke?

Liberal Arts Through the Ages

Monday, August 03, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I love everything about the recently completed Crew Dragon mission which finally brought the launch of US astronauts from US soil back to a being a reality. But perhaps my favorite bit of trivia was that the toilet on the Crew Dragon is called the "Commode O Dragon"... "Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants." - Epictetus... I would love to watch a show or listen to a podcast where a Dalek (from Doctor Who) asks scientists and writers questions in his Dalek voice... When your party bases everything on identity politics should you be surprised when the chickens come home to roost?... "The more sweat on the training field, the less blood on the battlefield." - Col. David Hackworth... "Stupid people are ruining America." - Herman Cain (rest in peace)... 


Tyler Cowen published an article, How Not to Fight Modern-Day Slavery. The article is in response to a Bill being proposed by Senator Josh Hawley. Not sure if I agree with Tyler Cowen's position because it seems to be "Slavery - what are you going to do?" with hands throw up in the air. Then again I'm also unsure of the unintended consequences of Senator Hawley's bill.

What I'd suggest is simple and straightforward. The United States demands that the United Nations require nations to make slavery illegal within their nation's borders. If the nation does not comply then that nation is removed from the UN. If the UN fails to comply with this requirement then the US leaves the UN. Either nations  that continue to allow slavery are forced to leave the UN or the United States leaves the UN. Either outcome is OK by me.

As Americans can't we all agree that the US should not be in any organization that allows member nations to support slavery? In modern times shouldn't this be an acceptable baseline among civilized nations?

It should also be pointed out that in 1865 when Congress officially voted to end slavery in the US the vote tally was 119 "yea" and 56 "nay" with 8 Congressmen not voting. Every Republican Congressman voted to end slavery (along with 16 Democrats). All of the "nay" votes and all of the not voting Congressmen (the voting "Present" of the day) were Democrats.

Cruise 2020

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our responsibility for the future." - John F. Kennedy. We could certainly use with more of that attitude today... Heh Heh... Still say that if low calorie beer was called "skim" instead of "light" they would be much less popular. Michelob Ultra is really skim beer... Four Dimensional Symmetry would be a great name for a blog and Carnal Acquaintances would be a good name for a band... Thinking of adopting the Latin phrase "Pax et bonum" as my all-purpose greeting. It translates to English as "Peace and all good." Think it can be used the same way Hawaiians use "Aloha"... Heh Heh (true)... "If you accomplish something good with hard work, the labor passes quickly, but the good endures; if you do something shameful in pursuit of pleasure, the pleasure passes quickly, but the shame endures." - Gaius Musonius Rufus... 

Raze Whiskey

Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart
- Macbeth

Raze would make a great name for a whiskey. And those verses would look great on a label. As an aside - Oblivious Antidote would make a great name for a cheap brand of Gin or Vodka.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

2020 Presidential Election

Rivers of blood I see, and hills of slain,
An Iliad rising out of one campaign,
A thousand villages to ashes burn,
In crackling flames a thousand harvests burn.
- Joseph Addison

Addison's poem was about the Duke of Marlborough but the poem easily could be read as an ode to the 2020 Presidential election.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.


Friday, July 31, 2020

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- "Peaceful" Protests. Borepatch with a nice historical parallel to the world we're living in.

- Interesting bit of history. I had never heard of Varosha.

- The Chinese government is evil. Even The Atlantic has come around to that conclusion.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Growing up in the 1970's we believed many silly things like quicksand being a huge danger (and plot device for almost every TV show) and that evil geniuses would build their lairs under active volcanoes but probably the most insidious belief it turns out was that pubic hair was natural and acceptable... So HBO Max thinks an Amy Schumer docuseries is a reason to subscribe to the streaming service? Really? Good luck with that... "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." - George Bernard Shaw... Meat Whistle would be a great name for a band... The new season of Porlandia is going to be on FIRE!!!... 2020 has had so many twists, turns, deaths and unexpected outrageous situations that nobody will care about what George RR Martin's imagination can cook up for the next Game of Thrones book (as if the lousy final season of the HBO series didn't already kill any interest in the new book)... "As I know more about mankind, I expect less of them." - Samuel Johnson... 

Harry Potter

According to the books, Harry Potter would have turned 40 years old today. Happy birthday Harry!

Big day Harry Potter and the First Colon Exam could be his next big adventure.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

China and the NBA

ESPN reports on abuse at NBA Academies in China

I read this as ESPN in full CYA mode. They don't have billion dollar TV or shoe contracts with China to protect. They see which way the wind's blowing in the US regarding China. ESPN also understands that "we didn't know" won't be accepted as an excuse. They even went as far as a mention of "World War II [Nazi] Germany" in the article. They fully understand just how evil the Chinese Communist Government is.

The NBA knew and kept cashing the checks anyway. Remember that the next time any player or coach gets on their high horse about conditions in the US. They knew!

To quote ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski "Fuck You!"

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- How to bring New York City's refugees back home. Good points but many will never return and the healing won't really begin until NYC has a Mayor who's not a complete doofus.

- Great conversation between Shane Parrish and Naval Ravikant. Well worth the two hours of your time if you've never heard it (or if you have - to bask in the wisdom a second, third, or more times).

- Speaking of Naval - his his list of recommended reading (some great books on this list)

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Many people misunderstand the famous Harry Truman "Buck Stops Here" sign he used to keep on his Presidential desk. That was a poker term Truman liked. The "Buck" was the "puck" or disk or marker used to denote whose turn to deal it was. It was not slang for a dollar bill or anything else. The dealer had to decide what game he was about to deal. It was a metaphor for "decider" so he was the "Decider in Chief" as George W might have phrased it...  A little Lord of the Rings humor... It might be the hangover talking but I think the hardest thing to do in baseball is to bunt for the cycle... I wonder if in Adam Smith's wildest fever dreams he ever thought the "Invisible Hand" could be something as nefarious and pernicious as the Chinese Communist Party has been these past two decades... I think going forward it would be helpful that whenever you hear or read the word "expert" your mind adds the word "witness" to the sentence. It would be helpful because the phrase "expert witness" has become somewhat of a pejorative meaning the expert witness expounds whatever side or set of facts that suit the side that is paying them. It's no wonder that certain scientists and healthcare professionals can switch beliefs simply based upon what political party happens to occupy the White House... Not for nothing but nine days ago I wrote, "Wish I could get odds that Joe Biden's initial announced VP pick (whoever that ends up being) will have to be walked back and replaced (for whatever reason)." Now this happens and is immediately walked back. Let's see if a different person is later announced... 

Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa disappeared on this day 44-years ago.

I have a valid alibi for that entire day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Patriots Opt-Outs

Six New England Patriots have opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Those six are:
  • Patrick Chung
  • Dont'a Hightower
  • Marcus Cannon
  • Brandon Bolden
  • Danny Vitale
  • Najee Toran
I agree with Tom E. Curran that for some Patriots, opting out of the NFL season is the logical choice. I support these players 100%. The way I understand it the deadline for players to opt out of the 2020 season is August 3rd. So by the end of Monday we should know how widespread this is across the NFL. My guess is that teams who recently won Super Bowl rings will have the most players sitting out. 

The players opting out also mean the Patriots now have about $27 million in cap space for the upcoming season. I'm pretty optimistic on the team and their chances given that chaos all the NFL will be dealing with this season.

Farnam Street Knowledge

- Appearances vs. Experiences: What Really Makes Us Happy One lesson Scuba diving teaches is the importance of "fit and comfort" over how something looks.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts nd observations.

I wonder if the NBA will let you put "All Lives Matter" on the back of one of their official NBA jerseys?... "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams... Two movie soundtracks that I don't think get enough love are the soundtrack to The Last of the Mohicans and the soundtrack to Flash Gordon... "The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks." - Mortimer Adler... People who are upset about who did and did not get an Emmy nominations should probably reflect on how they spend their free time... Really believe that NFL revenues will tank this year and not just from no fans being in the stands but also for the way Roger Goodell has handled the Black Lives Matter issues that has really alienated many, many fans from the game. My guess is by Super Bowl LVI the NFL will have a new Commissioner in place... "Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced." - Soren Kierkegaard. Wish I knew this quote when it was time to pick a high school yearbook quote... 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Hong Kong in Ireland? That would be cool but you'd think Australia would be the natural landing spot given the proximity.

- 14 colleges in New York likely to "perish" in coronavirus pandemic. List includes names like Fordham and Hofstra and St John's. 

- Over 100 police agencies reportedly pull out of agreements to guard DNC Convention in Milwaukee. Why would any police officers want to be at a place where they are not wanted or valued?

Top 5 - Changes to Colleges and Universities

If I were put in charge - here's my Top 5 Changes I'd make to higher ed.

1. Get rid of any classes that need to have either "Science" or "Studies" added to the course title. It's not "Political Science" - it's "Politics." You don't say "History Science." And any course that adds "Studies" is not really giving you an education for the most part it's giving you an indoctrination instead.

2. If a person goes to a college or university for a minimum of three-years and four years after leaving college that person is not making at least triple the poverty line ($12,760 - so $38,280 total) then that person gets to declare Education Bankruptcy and wipe out any student debt. The college or university would have to then cover that debt out of their endowment fund. Only colleges or universities with a big enough endowment would be eligible for federal student aid. The goal is for the university to want to give the students something tangibly valuable for society not just a degree that's not worth the paper its printed on in the real world.

3. Any revenue associated with college sports would be taxable. No reason why those big TV contracts aren't taxable. If that opens up the athletes getting paid as employees - fantastic!

4. I would make four-years served in the US military with an honorable discharge equal to a liberal arts degree for all Federal employment opportunities with the edge given to those who served for any job where the candidates are otherwise equal. The person coming out of the military probably has more practical skills and a better ability to follow instruction - why not reward them?

5. With the idea of Education Bankruptcy from above in mind - there's a whole group of people where many if not most have at least triple the poverty level in guaranteed income. These are retirees. Why not craft programs for these folks. Many retirees have free time and interests they would have loved to pursue - perhaps archaeology, geology, history of the American Revolution, etc. Why not come up and market Associate Degrees that would be of interest to retirees?    


Caddyshack turns 40-years old this week.

Classic - Don Knotts as Frank Sinatra

Monday, July 27, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I really hope that Matt Taibbi is working on a 2020 Presidential campaign book to rival Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing of the Campaign Trail 1972... In the Seven Years War, for every man who died in battle for England, an incredible 87 died of disease. If only General Fauci had ordered them to wear masks!... "Without the first amendment, there is no freedom. Without the second, there is no first." - Naval Ravikant... The way 2020 is tending I'm really afraid that contagious anal fissures will be a thing come September... Who knew? Adam Smith planned to have two follow-up books after The Wealth of Nations. The first was to be on literature and philosophy while the second was to be on law and government... Cam Newton as the Patriots starting QB is starting to grow on me (though I am concerned by him being a vegan)... 

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- I'd agree that Dire Straits' Making Movies is a perfect album with a single weak song. I'd also add that Tunnel of Love is one of my go-to songs on a bar jukebox.


Via James Woods

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Top 5 - Stanley Kubrick Movies

Stanley Kubrick would have been 92-years old today. In his memory here are what I consider his five best movies.

1. Dr. Strangelove
2. Paths of Glory
3. A Clockwork Orange
4. Full Metal Jacket
5. The Shining

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Beer Street

Beer Street - population me! Beach, shooting pool and drinking beer are today's agenda!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Ted Cruz is advocating for a Bill that would hold elected officials liable for allowing rioters who destroy lives and businesses. I support this 100% and have long supported something similar for elected officials in "Sanctuary Cities" for any damage or crimes committed by illegal immigrants "caught and released" within their jurisdiction...  Heh Heh... Have a sneaking suspicion that the Red Sox plan to tank on purpose this season so that they can justify bringing back Alex Cora as manager next season... Do you really want to get your political views from heiress actor celebrities? On the other hand - The Mighty Tree Octopi would make a great band name... Wonder if one of the lasting unreported effects of all these protests and riots in big cities will be infestations of head lice? Not the most of hygienic folks... Mike Tyson is set to fight an exhibition on September 12th against Roy Jones Jr. As the article points out Tyson isn't fighting because he's broke (he's not). And as I'd like to point out here - I'm probably going to be watching this fight...

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

Edward Hopper 2020 Reimagined by Jacob Katzenstein

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Mookie Betts

So Mookie Betts is signing a 12-year $365 million extension with the Dodgers. How did I react to the news? By placing a large bet on the Red Sox to finish under the season predicted win total of 30.5 wins (out of 60 games). 

Good for Mookie he deserved to get paid. He's one athlete that has earned a BIG contract. Shame on the Red Sox for not getting a deal done with Betts and for trading a fan favorite. 

The Red Sox are going to suck this year. The Yankees are loaded and will run away with the AL East and the Red Sox just don't have the pitching to complete. With Chris Sale out for the year - Boston doesn't have the pitching even to fight for a Wildcard spot. Most fans can't name the starting rotation (or closer for that matter). I can name two current starters and then in my mind it's all TBD.

Also would not be surprised if Jackie Bradley Jr. is traded before the August 31st trade deadline. He's a free agent at the end of the season and Scott Boras is his agent. 

Very little interest in this team this year (outside of them not winning 31 games).

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Tesla selects Texas as home to the next Gigafactory. After the Supreme Court ruling regarding Oklahoma I think this was basically a done deal. Won't be surprised if some manufacturing capacity is moved from California to Texas as well... "Invest the best hours of your day on the biggest opportunity, not the biggest problem." - Shane Parrish. Such great advice but at the same time so hard to do... US banks can now hold crypto-currencies. Why do I have the sneaking suspicion this actually makes things like Bitcoin less secure?... On the plus side NFL coaches wearing masks on the sidelines won't have to bother to hold up a call sheet to hide their lips from any lip readers anymore... Andrew Cuomo: "We now have people coming to New York, fleeing other states because it's the 'safe' state." I must admit that having recently re-watched the HBO Watchmen series I can't help but think of the Looking Glass scene where he reviews a NYC tourist commercial. Yeah nobody wants to go there right now... "More the knowledge lesser the ego, lesser the knowledge more the ego." - Albert Einstein... 

Venus Flytrap from WKRP Explains the Atom

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- It will be interesting to watch Jeremy Roenick's lawsuit against NBC

- 18 household tips that will help with your every day life

- Glad to see Wilford Brimley has a sense of humor. Good for him!

- Photographer updates postcards of 1960's resorts into their abandoned ruins. Memento mori.

- NBA responds to US Senator's letter about league's relationship with China. So if the NBA ended the relationship with the academy located in Xinjiang "one of the world's worst humanitarian zones" last year - that has to show that the NBA knew what China was doing in the area. They knew.

- The B-17 that landed without a tail. Great story - great plane.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

With the Olympics postponed until next year but with horse racing still going on I really think an "Olympic Derby" would be a great success. Each country sends their 2 best racehorses and a series of races are held over a couple weeks until the "Gold Medal" final race. It could be bigger than the Kentucky Derby and Preakness combined... "One of the mysteries of the ages is why the political left has, for centuries, lavished so much attention on the well-being of criminals and paid so little attention to their victims." - Thomas Sowell.. Heh Heh - Cultural Offering's plan to survive the Wuhan Virus... "Sir, your levelers wish to level down as far as themselves; but they cannot bear leveling up to themselves." - Samuel Johnson. The more things change - the more they stay the same...  If I were a baseball player this would be my walk-up music... Greatly amused by anyone worked up by former Republican Governor John Kasich agreeing to be a key speaker at the Democratic National Convention. Kasich is a man bereft of charisma who has a lower name recognition in America than the back-up third baseman for the Dodgers...

THE Olympics

Very interesting look at the original Olympics. Some great nuggets in there. Sophocles was a great handball fan. Plato was a great wrestling fan. The Olympics even spawned the first sports bars (though technically I guess they were wine bars).

The ancient games did not run a marathon - that was Victorian addition. And the Olympic torch? That was something Hitler thought would be cool.

We should have been gearing up for the Summer Olympics right about now but I guess this will have to do instead,

Banned From Facebook (NSFW but Funny)

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Lost a lot of respect for Mark Cuban. Can he even say that the country's current crisis originated in Wuhan China? Seriously Mark could  you even bring yourself to admit that much?

Commerce Department adds eleven Chinese entities implicated in human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Maybe Mark Cuban will offer these companies slots on Shark Tank to prove how much he tows the company NBA line?

- This is SO wrong (but it made me laugh)

- The family that owns the New York Times were slaveholders. That's it then - if you read the New York Times that means you're a racist (as I understand the new rules of the game).

- German leaders appeal to Congress to prevent US troop cuts in Germany. Cry me a river.

- Interesting look at how politics could be the Chinese Navy's Achilles heel.

- President Xi claims Uighurs were being loaded onto trains for a "Surprise trip to Disneyland". Or maybe an NBA game.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

If there's one thing Black Lives matter has taught us is that the political correctness police these past few decades have been pulling our legs in trying to force people to say "African-American" instead of "Black"... The next time a Canadian politician or even the Prime Minister criticizes the US some Senator should introduce a bill offering the Western Canadian Provinces a path to Statehood to see how that goes over in Canada... Who knew? In the mid 18th century London versions of the play King Lear had a happy ending where Cordelia doesn't die but instead falls in love with and marries Edgar and lives happily ever after. Not until 1838 was the tragic ending restored... Would love to see Hugh Jackman star in a live action Samurai Jack movie... Wish I could get odds that Joe Biden's initial announced VP pick (whoever that ends up being) will have to be walked back and replaced (for whatever reason). That would be peak 2020. I'd need at least 100-1 odds to put real money on the proposition... NJ Governor Murphy announces no fans at Giants or Jets games this season. And the NYC economy takes another big hit (fans going to those games weren't staying in NJ)... "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." - Rumi...