Archive for October, 2010

29
Oct
10

Roundup – Halloween Propaganda

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Line O’ the Day:

“I will say this though, if 2010 Marty had shown 1985 Doc Brown the breadth and availability of pornography in 2010, his head would’ve exploded.  In 1985, guys were still jacking it to the Swimsuit Issue like a retarded orangutan sleeping in the dirt.” – Vince Mancini, Doc Brown discovers that the future is lame [FilmDrunk]

The Best:

Agnostic about gay marriage: Attitudes to gay marriage among religious groups in America [The Economist]

For the first time since the Pew Research Centre began conducting polls on the subject in 1995, fewer than half of Americans (48%) are opposed to gay marriage, while 42% are in favour. All religious groups are more accepting than they were in polls taken between 2008 and 2009. The most notable shift has been among white mainstream Protestants and Catholics, 49% of whom are now in favour, and that figure was even higher for those who attend church less than once a week.

Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex [Christian Rudder on okTrends]

Gay issues have been in the news a lot lately, from the debate over same-sex marriage in Congress to a sickening rash of gay-bashing here in New York City. We see a lot of emotion out there, instead of information, and we wanted to provide some data-based context on sexuality so that people might make better choices about what they say, think, and do. We run a massive dating site and therefore have unparalleled insight into sex and relationships. Here’s what we’ve found, in numbers and charts.

Why Are the Effects of Marijuana So Unpredictable? [Jonah Lehrer on Wired via Gizmodo]

Too often, we forget that drugs work their magic on a brain that’s never the same. Who we are depends on when you ask the question. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that a drug with many different strains (each of which has a slightly different THC/cannabinoid ratio) and that acts on a context-dependent neural pathway would display such a wide variety of symptoms, from carefree euphoria to its emotional opposite.

Muslim Sect Sees Struggle Through Christian Lens [Robert F. Worth on The New York Times]

The massacre, which took place in about A.D. 523, is partly shadowed by myth and largely unknown to the outside world. But it has become central to the identity of the people now living here, who mostly belong to the minority Ismaili sect of Islam. The Ismailis, widely reviled as heretics by Sunni Muslims both here and abroad, see the oppressed Christians of ancient Najran as their literal and figurative ancestors in a continuing struggle for recognition by the Saudi state.

Brad DeLong Should Read More [Mario Rizzo on ThinkMarkets]

What becomes clear, especially in Mill’s Principles of Political Economy (1848), is that Say’s Law points us in the direction of entrepreneurial miscalculation and the associated “want of confidence” as the fundamental cause of depressions. The fall in the money value of commodities in general (the only valid sense of “excess production”) is a symptom of something more basic than demand failure. That more basic thing is, however, simply alluded to here as the “want of confidence.”  Fundamentally, DeLong is suggesting that Mill did not (always) believe Say’s Law when, in fact, Mill is explaining Say’s Law and claiming that his understanding is not novel — but the same as those who expounded the law in the past.

This Man Made Enough Germ Weapons to Destroy the World (And Now He’s Dead) [Gizmodo]

William C. Patrick III died last week. He was responsible for enough bio-weaponry to kill every single person on the planet. And several other planets. And then, he spent the rest of his life fighting against his own deadly creations.

Get a lawyer before sex: 27 precautions before risking sex with a woman [Human Stupidity]

A man who dares to have sex with a woman needs legal counsel. He is guilty until proven innocent on many charges, which can be filed years after sex. A woman can claim she withdrew consent in the middle of the act, was unable to consent because she was drunk, drugged, had mental problems; she can look older, lie about her age and have fake id; can insert sperm from a condom into her vagina to inseminate herself, can get child support even if SHE raped him; injure herself and accuse him of battery and rape. He may go to jail for doing a DNA test on the cuckold child from his wive’s adulterous affair. Even sex dolls can look underage, and masturbation has its risks.

This Fantasy League Gets a Stage in New York, for Real [Wall Street Journal]

Valerie Fischman, who plays Quidditch at the University of Maryland, would like to see it go much further. She’s been finding out what needs to be done to get the sport NCAA status. That, she says, could “be a stepping stone” to becoming an Olympic sport.

WikiLeaks Releases Iraq War Logs Which Detail Over 100,000 Deaths, Show US Ignored Torture, Expose Routine Friendly Fire [Zero Hedge]

Wikileaks has lifted the embargo on what it dubs the biggest leak of American documents in history. The Guardian, which is the primary nexus of data collection, notes that almost “400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.”

Despite Army Efforts, Soldier Suicides Continue [The New York Times]

The spate of suicides in Texas reflects a chilling reality: nearly 20 months after the Army began strengthening its suicide prevention program and working to remove the stigma attached to seeking psychological counseling, the suicide rate among active service members remains high and shows little sign of improvement. Through August, at least 125 active members of the Army had ended their own lives, exceeding the morbid pace of last year, when there were a record 162 suicides.

4 Reasons Why Building Codes And Licensing Boards Are Bad For You [Nicole Paluszek on Biospheric Resonance]

They drive up the cost of housing, creating a shortage of truly affordable housing and lowering disposable income across the board. Instead of being able to build  exactly to local/individual need, you are forced to comply with centrally determined one-size-fits-all standards using expensive over-engineered methods and materials, even if this makes the dwelling less useful to the end user.  You pay huge fees for permits and the work is often delayed by the need for bureaucratic approval at each stage. You have to hire politically connected contractors with huge overheads due to licensing, who charge exorbitant prices to do the work, and can get away with it because their cheaper competitors are criminalized.

Tony Dungy Would Like To Remind You… IT GETS WORSE [Big Daddy Drew via KSK]

[Tony] Dungy: DON’T LISTEN TO HIM, BILLY! IT GETS WORSE!!!! WORSE!!!!!
(disappears in cloud of red smoke)
[Rex] Ryan: God, he’s such an asshole. Listen to me, Billy. You’re gonna be a GREAT gay. You’re gonna go out there and gay like a fucking CHAMP! Everybody goes through the shit now and then. And you’re right in the thick of it now. It’s like someone stranded you in that growler I dropped this morning. But it doesn’t have to be that way. NOT IF YOU FUCKING ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK! Don’t sit here blubbering on and on about it. You want it better? You fucking make it better. You grab that cock by the horns and you ride it until it’s dead! You got me?

Overdrive: Who really rescued General Motors? [Malcolm Gladwell via The New Yorker]

Whitacre makes commercials for G.M., with himself as the star. He takes lunch in the food court, mingling with the rank and file. “Hi, I’m Ed. Who’re you?” he’ll say to some dumbstruck middle manager in the elevator. He walks into one meeting, listens for a while, says, “ You are all smart guys, right? You know what to do,” then walks out. He flies back to Texas every weekend, just to keep things in perspective. He is the face of the new G.M., the man handpicked to lead one of America’s greatest companies through its time of gravest crisis. And then one day last August—just nine months into his term as C.E.O.—Rattner’s superlative leader suddenly and mysteriously quits. Does this make Rattner question his own judgment? That’s not the private-equity way. “I shared the board’s disappointment,” he writes briskly, and moves on with his narrative of triumph.

The War Prayer [Mark Twain via LRC]

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

CURRENT CONTRACTION SURPASSES “GREAT RECESSION” [Consumer Metrics Institute via Pragmatic Capitalism]

From time to time we have been asked whether we consider the current contraction in consumer demand to be the second “dip” in a “double dip” recession. From a qualitative perspective, we believe that the “Great Recession” is not so much a “double-dip” as a single “big-scoop” that changed character somewhere in the middle. We understand that the NBER says that the recession ended in June 2009. However quantitatively/technically correct that may be by NBER standards, by “Main Street” gut-feeling standards the NBER assertion is somewhere between questionable and ludicrous, depending on the personal circumstances of the observer.

25% of the population are supertasters — are you one of them? [Esther Ingliss-Arkell on io9]

People of Asian decent are more likely to be supertasters. Women are more likely to be supertasters. Caucasian men have the lowest proportion of supertasters of any population.

Kraken of the Sea and of Our Trembling Fear [Brian Lam on Scuttlefish via io9]

After all, you have to wonder at how sane it is to try to capture a creature that outweighs you by several times, with several times as many arms, and a beak that in lesser species has been known to bite through kevlar, a material 20 times harder than steel.

The Killer Squirrel Epidemic Could Spell America’s Doom [Big Daddy Drew on Deadspin]

I bought a coffee cake mix for my kid last week. It was some Pillsbury one with cinnamon streusel in the center. So the kid and I whip up the batter and put it in the oven. Forty-five minutes later, I take it out and it’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. I ask my kid if she wants any and she says NO. She pisses off to watch TV and I’m left alone with this masterpiece. I don’t waste any time. I plow through the fucker and discover that I failed to cook it all the way through. There’s a big wad of batter in the center. Now, I guess undercooking a cake like this is “bad,” in theory. In reality, it’s fucking unreal. Not only do I have a coffee cake to myself, but it has its own tunnel of raw batter on the inside. THAT’S QUALITY FILLING. If no one had been around, I would have spread it all over my body. Coffee cake was forged by the Gods.

Exodus. The changing map of the Middle East [Robert Fisk via The Independent]

Americans, so obsessed by the myths of East-West “clashes of civilisation” since 11 September 2001, often seem to regard Christianity as a “Western” rather than an Eastern religion, neatly separating the Middle East roots of their own religion from the lands of Islam. That in itself is a loss of faith.

In Medicare’s Data Trove, Clues to Curing Cost Crisis [Mark Schoofs and Maurice Tamman on The Wall Street Journal]

The reason is that the American Medical Association, the doctors’ trade group, successfully sued the government more than three decades ago to keep secret how much money individual physicians receive from Medicare. The AMA has continued to defend this ruling, including in two cases in which federal appeals courts issued decisions last year.  This means the American public is barred from examining in detail how Medicare spends roughly an eighth of its funds, about $62.5 billion in 2009. While that may seem like a small piece, health-care experts point out that physicians have disproportionate power to direct spending in all the other areas of the system because they admit patients into hospitals, prescribe drugs and order procedures and equipment.

Whimsical Remains:

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The content on this site is provided as general information and entertainment only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial product, or to participate in any particular trading or investment strategy. The ideas expressed on this site are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of firms affiliated with the author. The author may or may not have a position in any security referenced herein and may or may not seek to do business with companies mentioned via this website. Any action that you take as a result of information or analysis on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.
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21
Oct
10

Roundup – THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH!

Line O’ the Day:

“Let’s get into the real reason why breast cancer has the best Q rating of all cancers: BOOBS. Boobs are crucial to men and women alike. What woman wants to live without boobs? What man wants to live with a woman without boobs? Boobs are the key to EVERYTHING. A prostate is just a walnut God jammed inside your taint. Boobs, on the other hand, are majestic. They nurture. They protect. They look AWESOME in v-neck sweaters. They must be sheltered and protected. They must be allowed to grow, and thrive, and be nuzzled against. Even old lady boobs. Even a 61-year-old gal’s wrinkled, hairy, distressed leather coin pouches deserve your generous support. Don’t hate on Susan Komen and the gang just because they have better marketing savvy than Uncle Barney’s Olde Tyme Prostate Fund.”

– Big Daddy Drew,Does Breast Cancer Unfairly Hog The Cancer Spotlight? [Deadspin]

Best of the Best:

The Moon affects rainfall here on Earth…and we have no idea why [ScienceNow via io9]

There’s an old wives’ tale that says rain follows both the full and new Moon. Scientists found some proof of this back in the 1960s, and now a new study reveals that the Moon could be responsible for as much as one to two percent of rain and steam runoff. But, as you can read over at ScienceNow, the actual cause of this phenomenon is still anyone’s guess.

Allen Iverson Recognizes The Sad Truth About Allen Iverson [Barry Petchesky on Deadspin]

Yahoo Sports is reporting that Iverson is thisclose to signing with Turkish side Beşiktaş, but the fact that negotiations have been so drawn out should be an indicator that he’s not doing it for the love of the game. You’d think that after so many years and so many millions, he wouldn’t need the money, but certain NBA stars have a way of needing the money.

Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite [The Nation]

But with his relentless diatribes against “illegals” and their employers, Dobbs is casting stones from a house—make that an estate—of glass. Based on a yearlong investigation, including interviews with five immigrants who worked without papers on his properties, The Nation and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute have found that Dobbs has relied for years on undocumented labor for the upkeep of his multimillion-dollar estates and the horses he keeps for his 22-year-old daughter, Hillary, a champion show jumper.

A Detailed Look At Global Wealth Distribution [Credit Suisse via Zero Hedge]

Per CS, Figure 1 shows “The global wealth pyramid” in striking detail. It is made up of a solid base of low wealth holders with upper tiers occupied by fewer and fewer people. We estimate that 3 billion individuals – more than two thirds of the global adult population – have wealth below USD 10,000. A further billion adults (24% of the world population) are placed in the USD 10,000–100,000 range, leaving 358 million adults (8% of the world population) with  assets above USD 100,000. Figures for mid-2010 indicate that 24.2 million adults are above the threshold for dollar millionaires. While they make up less than 1% of the global adult population, they own more than a third of global household wealth. More specifically, individuals with wealth above USD 50 million are estimated to number 81,000 worldwide.

Stories That Don’t Suck: The Epic Tale Of America’s Greatest Ping-Pong Hustler [“Smash” by Howard Jacobson via Table Tennis News via Tablet via Deadspin]

Not everyone recognized him immediately. You’re not looking at other people much when you’re battling arthritis and want nothing else on earth but to take a ping-pong trophy home to Vilnius to show your grandchildren’s grandchildren. But when he began to play, competitors around him stopped to watch, first one table, then another, until finally all 100 tables were quiet, and even the most sponge-committed of the veterans—oldsters with sprung sponge mattresses in their hands, who could stamp-serve and twist themselves around the ball in the requisite Quasimodo manner of the young—had to admit that table tennis played by a master of the old game was a beautiful sight to behold. And more than that, brought back to us why players and non-players alike had once been excited by it, and no longer were.

China’s Pipelineistan ‘War’ [Pepe Escobar via Tom Englehardt via LRC]

For the moment, Beijing’s strategic priority has been to carefully develop a remarkably diverse set of energy-suppliers – a flow of energy that covers Russia, the South China Sea, Central Asia, the East China Sea, the Middle East, Africa, and South America. If China has so far proven masterly in the way it has played its cards in its Pipelineistan “war,” the U.S. hand – bypass Russia, elbow out China, isolate Iran – may soon be called for what it is: a bluff.

Battle in Belgrade [James Kirchick on Foreign Policy]

About an hour before the rally began, small disturbances began between anti-gay protesters and police just a half-mile or so from the rally. Running toward the noise (which alternated between chants of “Kill, kill, kill the gays” and other crude slogans), I was passed by two police officers, one visibly injured. Moments later, as I tried to take a picture of the ensuing chaos, a screaming hooligan ran up to me, smashing my camera hard into my face. I ran from the scene before I could see what, if anything, the police did to him in response.

Dispatch From the Knife’s Edge [James Kirchick on The New Republic]

For more than four days in early June, the southern part of Kyrgyzstan—a poor, landlocked country of 5.4 million people located west of China’s Xinjiang Province—was wracked by ethnic riots. The violence pitted ethnic Kyrgyz, who make up a majority of the country’s population, against ethnic Uzbeks, a substantial minority. Crimes were committed by both sides. But it was the Kyrgyz who controlled the levers of power, and who, motivated by rumors of Uzbek atrocities and perhaps by videos like the ones I saw, were responsible for most of the violence.

High court won’t review Utah tax on nude bars [Utah News]

That court upheld a 2004 decision by the Utah Legislature to enact a 10 percent tax on sexually explicit businesses in an effort to pay for sex offender treatment. The tax covered everything a sexually explicitly business sold — admission, T-shirts and hamburgers included.

5 times we almost nuked ourselves by accident [Ed Grabianowski on io9]

In the waters off Tybee Island, Georgia, right at the Georgia/South Carolina border and not far from Savannah, buried in about 10 feet of silt is a hydrogen bomb. It’s been there for more than 50 years.

How heat can cross a vacuum [Hyperphysics, Physics World, and Science Alert via io9]

Quantum tunneling has long been studied with photons. Because they are both particles and clouds of probability, they can ‘tunnel’ through barriers. As a particle, a photon can move up to a barrier – close enough that its ‘cloud of probability’ falls on the other side. Since walls can’t limit abstract ideas such as probability functions, the photon just is at the other side of the barrier. This is quantum tunneling. It’s one of the reasons our sun shines. It’s been calculated that the heat at the center of the sun is not enough to induce fusion. Quantum tunneling is responsible for the hydrogen atoms in the sun moving through the barriers which separate them and fusing.

In the forests of Siberia, Yetis are fighting bears [The Voice of Russia via io9]

If this “war” between yetis and bears continues, there is a risk that bears will not sleep this winter because of a shortage of food, instead going to villages in search of something to eat. To prevent this, the region’s authorities plan to organize bear feeding.

Crazy Josh McDaniels Gets An Unwelcome Oklahoma Telegram [Big Daddy Drew on KSK]

“Men, this is fucking WAR. This is what you were built for. I want you to take a look at that sign over there on the wall. (Sign: “BEFORE MAN WAS, WAR WAITED FOR HIM. THE ULTIMATE TRADE AWAITING ITS ULTIMATE PRACTITIONER.”) That’s from a Cormac McCarthy book. I read that shit at night specifically to find sentences that will send your fucking dick to the moon. YOU WERE BORN FOR WAR. GOD MADE YOU SO THAT YOU COULD KILL AND WIN AND FUCKING TAKE WHAT’S YOURS.”

It’s the Occupation, Stupid [Foreign Policy]

More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation, according to extensive research that we conducted at the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism, where we examined every one of the over 2,200 suicide attacks across the world from 1980 to the present day. As the United States has occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, which have a combined population of about 60 million, total suicide attacks worldwide have risen dramatically — from about 300 from 1980 to 2003, to 1,800 from 2004 to 2009. Further, over 90 percent of suicide attacks worldwide are now anti-American. The vast majority of suicide terrorists hail from the local region threatened by foreign troops, which is why 90 percent of suicide attackers in Afghanistan are Afghans.  Israelis have their own narrative about terrorism, which holds that Arab fanatics seek to destroy the Jewish state because of what it is, not what it does. But since Israel withdrew its army from Lebanon in May 2000, there has not been a single Lebanese suicide attack. Similarly, since Israel withdrew from Gaza and large parts of the West Bank, Palestinian suicide attacks are down over 90 percent.

O’Donnell’s Constitution Question Floors Audience [Surge Desk on AOL News]

After scolding Coons for his lack of knowledge of constitutional law for stating that intelligent design should not be taught in public schools (a matter decided in a scathing decision in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District), O’Donnell challenged her rival on his assertion that the U.S. Constitution creates a distinct separation between church and state.  “Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked. Upon hearing her words, the audience in the room burst into laughter.

Reform must, and will, come to Russia [Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky via The Los Angeles Times]

Russia is approaching the very same point that the USSR found itself in back in the second half of the 1980s. Then there arose a crisis of the communist ideology as the planned economy of “real socialism” revealed its strategic inefficiency. For Russia, the second decade of the 21st century will become a period of crisis for a system built on corruption and hands-on control. Insightful Russians with initiative, knowing how to look to the future, understand this already.  In my youth, the leaders of the USSR had no desire whatsoever to leave power. But history obliged them to do so just the same. Today’s Russian theoreticians and practitioners of “vertically corrupt management” have no intention of going anywhere.  But they will have to. I know. I’ve seen it before.

The Man Who Tamed the Cocaine Capital [Constantino Diaz-Duran on The Daily Beast]

To end the scourge of drug trafficking, Fajardo believes it is important to consider legalizing drugs as one of the first steps…Look at what’s happening in Mexico…”It is so painful, that violence that drug trafficking generates. I think we need to understand this problem and view it from a different perspective. It makes no sense to jail people for using or selling drugs.” Like Gaviria, Fajardo believes that “eventually all drugs should be legalized,” but he emphasized that “this must be a global discussion. This is not something that Latin American countries can do unilaterally.”

China Hides Rampant Inflation in Money Binge [Patrick Chovanec via Bloomberg]

In reality, there is rampant inflation in China. It’s just showing up in asset prices. The new money that was created entered the economy as loans, mainly to fund investment in fixed assets. When it finally reached consumers, they bought tangibles, like property, instead of spending on consumer goods.  Asset-price inflation is tricky because it doesn’t feel like inflation. When the price of bread doubles, it feels like it’s getting harder to make ends meet. When condo prices double, it looks like smart investors are getting rich. But it’s only a matter of time before asset inflation starts working its way through the rest of the economy as broader price inflation — and puts China’s policy makers in a serious bind.

Why I Got Fired From Teaching American History [Thaddeus Russell via The Huffington Post]

I gave my students a history that was structured around the oldest issue in political philosophy but which professional historians often neglect – the conflict between the individual and community, or what Freud called the eternal struggle between civilization and its discontents. College students are normally taught a history that is the story of struggles between capitalists and workers, whites and blacks, men and women. But history is also driven by clashes between those interested in preserving social order and those more interested in pursuing their own desires — the “respectable” versus the “degenerate,” the moral versus the immoral, “good citizens” versus the “bad.” I wanted to show that the more that “bad” people existed, resisted, and won, the greater was what I called “the margin of freedom” for all of us. My students were most troubled by the evidence that the “good” enemies of “bad” freedoms were not just traditional icons like presidents and business leaders, but that many of the most revered abolitionists, progressives, and leaders of the feminist, labor, civil rights, and gay rights movements worked to suppress the cultures of working-class women, immigrants, African Americans, and the flamboyant gays who brought homosexuality out of the closet.
A handless model in Belgium who posed topless for as part of a campaign to raise awareness of disability issues has become an overnight celebrity after being inundated with interview requests from all over Europe. Smiling directly at the camera, glamorous 35-year old Tanja Kiewitz, posed for the shoot in a plunging black bra which adorned an advert which read: ‘look me in the eyes… I said the eyes’.

Whimsical Remains:

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The content on this site is provided as general information and entertainment only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial product, or to participate in any particular trading or investment strategy. The ideas expressed on this site are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of firms affiliated with the author. The author may or may not have a position in any security referenced herein and may or may not seek to do business with companies mentioned via this website. Any action that you take as a result of information or analysis on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.

07
Oct
10

OBR: Ensemble Casts – Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

It’s a film that launched a thousand ships in terms of the careers of its ensemble.  Will Ferrell had already broken through decisively the year before with Old School (2003), featuring another solid ensemble of later dubbed the “Frat Pack”.  Anchorman‘s ensemble though would arguably be stronger as it signaled the breakout of Steve Carrell, whose every line is gold in the film, and Paul Rudd.  Both, like Ferrell, would go on to become headliners in films like 40 Year Old Virgin, I Love You, Man, Date Night, Dan in Real Life, Get Smart and Role Models while playing strong supporting roles in Little Miss Sunshine, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Knocked Up.   The pair reunited for Dinner with Schmucks, although the film was decidedly not one of their finer efforts.

David Koechner played mostly supporting roles in a slew of films, which had varying degrees of success both at the box office and in the eyes of critics.  Koechner is brilliant in many supporting roles delivering lines with a smug, overly confident Midwestern affectation that with which many of the roles are tinged (he nailed one of my favorite lines from Talladega Nights).

Christina Applegate had the most unfortunate career post-Anchorman, battling breast cancer and only able to star in three feature films.  Applegate’s comedic chops are well established dating back to “Married with Children”, but one wonders if her prime years may have been lost to disease or whether she’ll able to rebound.  Here’s hoping to a return.

The strength of the Anchorman lay in the suitability of each actor in each role; there was nothing forced about the interactions.  Despite the preposterous nature of the proceedings, the actors were able to keep up a deadpan delivery that sold the comedy more and more upon repeated viewings.  In my opinion, Anchorman ranks as one of the few films (Big Lebowski comes to mind) that gets consistently funnier on subsequent views.  I thought it was a “had-its-moments-but-didn’t-quite-click” film the first time around; now, after about 30 more watches, it’s one of my favorites.

See also: Best Score – Afternoon Delight (link does involve an autoplay video).

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The content on this site is provided as general information and entertainment only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial product, or to participate in any particular trading or investment strategy. The ideas expressed on this site are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of firms affiliated with the author. The author may or may not have a position in any security referenced herein and may or may not seek to do business with companies mentioned via this website. Any action that you take as a result of information or analysis on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.

02
Oct
10

Roundup – Social Networking

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Line o’ the Day:

“Pain is a terribly lonely, isolating thing. It’s like depression, only it comes armed.” – Big Daddy Drew, This Is What Happens When Your Back Turns To Mush [Deadspin XY]

Best of the Best:

It’s Okay To Love Your TV More Than Your Children [Deadspin XY]

U.N. Millennium Development Goals: Foreign Aid v. Economic Freedom [Heritage Foundation]

But Professor Roberts reports that the foreign aid spending rarely generated any sustained prosperity. The money was spent and then it was gone—no multipliers materialized because the economies in the countries receiving the aid are fundamentally broken. They suffer from inefficient governments, corrupt practices, and stagnant labor markets. The influx of development assistance did not create economic growth; it merely stimulated rent-seeking behavior by the politically well-connected.  Research by New York University economist William Easterly finds that, while humanitarian aid has improved disease prevention in developing countries, foreign aid for African agriculture has been a failure (crop yields have decreased or stagnated over the past 40 years) and development assistance programs in general have not mitigated the effects of corruption. As a result, Easterly concludes, foreign aid programs often weaken governance.

Eat Pray Love [The Guardian]

Sit, watch, groan. Yawn, fidget, stretch. Eat Snickers, pray for end of dire film about Julia Roberts‘s emotional growth, love the fact it can’t last for ever. Wince, daydream, frown. Resent script, resent acting, resent dinky tripartite structure. Grit teeth, clench fists, focus on plot. Troubled traveller Julia finds fulfilment through exotic foreign cuisine, exotic foreign religion, sex with exotic foreign Javier Bardem. Film patronises Italians, Indians, Indonesians. Julia finds spirituality, rejects rat race, gives Balinese therapist 16 grand to buy house. Balinese therapist is grateful, thankful, humble. Sigh, blink, sniff. Check watch, groan, slump.

GDP Growth: Do We Need It? [Jack Hough on Smart Money]

Violent hurricanes are good for the economy. So are cancer, divorce and war. Vegetable gardens are an obstacle to growth, along with stay-at-home parents, plump savings accounts and fuel-efficient cars.

People of the book: The true history of the Koran in America [The Boston Globe]

The book known as Adams 281.1 is a copy of the Koran, from the personal collection of John Adams. There is nothing particularly ornate about this humble book, one of a collection of 2,400 that belonged to the second president. But it tells an important story, and reminds us how worldly the Founders were, and how impervious to the fanaticisms that spring up like dandelions whenever religion and politics are mixed. They, like we, lived in a complicated and often hostile global environment, dominated by religious strife, terror, and the bloodsport of competing empires. Yet better than we, they saw the world as it is, and refused the temptation to enlarge our enemies into Satanic monsters, or simply pretend they didn’t exist.
As Chinese real-estate prices deflate slowly now, and faster in 2012, the economy will hold up. Exports, consumption and infrastructure should sustain a 7 percent to 8 percent growth rate for the next decade. That seems low compared with recent years, but it will be much better for lifting wages, household living standards and corporate profits.
Bank executives say their customers don’t want loans, even at low interest rates, because the sluggish economy has chilled expansion plans. Some say the federal money isn’t worth it because they fear it will come with too much regulatory oversight…Ninety-one percent of small business owners surveyed in August by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said all their credit needs were met. Only 4 percent cited a lack of financing as their top business problem. Plans for capital spending were at a 35-year low.
Hitting bookstores (and Urban Outfitters, of course) today is The Snuggie Sutra—based on the blog of the same name—an illustrated guide to sexual positions using the innovative technology of a blanket with sleeves.
Olialia is run and staffed by blonde women, and already operates in 75 different business sectors, making products from computer software and food products to pop music. Olialia’s blonde managing director, Giedre Pukiene, says she wants to break the stereotype that blonde women are less intelligent.
It all depends on how you interpret human/cyborg love. Is it about romancing a version of ourselves, only perfected? Or is it about achieving erotic union with a creature who is completely alien, though covered Terminator-style in human skin?
Germany will finally clear its First World War debt by repaying nearly £60million this weekend.  The £22billion reparations were set by the Allied victors – mostly Britain, France and America – as compensation and punishment for the 1914-18 war.  The reparations were set at the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, by the Allied victors – mostly Britain, France and America.
The financial industry was lobbying vigorously to weaken the Volcker rule. Shortly before dinnertime on Wednesday, a Capitol Hill staffer called Volcker’s chief of staff, Anthony Dowd, a former investment banker, to let him know that Senator Christopher Dodd, the head of the Banking Committee, had released a new compromise proposal. The Democratic leadership needed the vote of Scott Brown, the freshman senator from Massachusetts, who had demanded changes that would please the big financial firms, several of which are based in his state.
If polls are right and Republicans achieve a major win, it’s likely there will be more and deeper US air and land attacks into Pakistan. The Pentagon is convinced it can still defeat resistance by Taliban and its allies “if only we can go after their sanctuaries in Pakistan,” as one general told me.  Where have we heard this before? Why in Cambodia and Laos, that’s where, during the Vietnam War. Frustrated US commanders expanded the war into Cambodia and Laos to go after Communist base camps. The war spread; these two small nations were largely destroyed, but the war was ultimately lost.  Victory in war is achieved by concentration of forces, not spreading them ever thinner and wider.  But our imperial generals seem determined to blunder into a nation of 175 million hostile people without any clear strategy. Unable to subdue the Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan, they are now attacking the Pashtun tribes of Pakistan. America does not need more enemies.
After Mr. Michaels arrived, according to two people at the bar that night, he sat down and said, “watch this,” and offered the waitress $100 to show him her breasts. The group sat dumbfounded.  “Here was this guy, who was responsible for all these people, getting drunk in front of senior people and saying this to a waitress who many of us knew,” said one of the Tribune executives present.

Whimsical Remains:

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The content on this site is provided as general information and entertainment only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial product, or to participate in any particular trading or investment strategy. The ideas expressed on this site are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of firms affiliated with the author. The author may or may not have a position in any security referenced herein and may or may not seek to do business with companies mentioned via this website. Any action that you take as a result of information or analysis on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.




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