Wednesday, December 30, 2009

we are nerds. i revel in it

my friends are nerds. this IM conversation sums it up.

(10:48:48 AM) ka*****:
(10:52:37 AM) we*****: hahaha
(10:52:39 AM) we******: awsome
(10:52:55 AM) we******: link me some math, engineer and physicist jokes
(10:53:29 AM) ka******: sure
(10:53:32 AM) ka******: here's the link
(10:53:41 AM) ka******:
(10:53:49 AM) we******: hah

But isn't nerdiness getting cool? According to this,, more nerds are just what the world needs.

Monday, December 28, 2009

How did he do it?

The most common comment i've heard about abdul the wanna be highjacker is "how did he manage to get through security?". This leaves me baffled because it seems blatantly obvious to me (and I would think anyone who has flown in the last 5 years) that the "security" for air travel is idiotic and almost totally pointless. As long as you're not carrying metal, there's nothing I've ever seen to stop you from smuggling anything on board under your clothes. Even if you're unlucky enough to be pulled out of line for special search, they don't look in your underwear or do a serious pat down in my experience. I'm personally surprised that there haven't been many more plane bombings because there's not much to stop it as far as on site security is concerned. I like to think that its superior intelligence analysis which occurs long before a terrorist ever gets close to the airport which is preventing more attacks, but who knows. With the vast overload of data and poor communication between agencies its hard to believe that either. But my point is, this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. The only pleasant surprise is that this asshole was unlucky or incompetent enough to have a faulty detonator. Now that's a festivus miracle.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Back to the drunk awesomeness

So this blog was supposed to be about drinking and politics and a little economics/finance, but its clearly devolved into just politics and finance. Its time to go back to my roots and talk about something awesome I did. And for my first serious drinking story, I'll have to go to a classic from 2006. Let's call it "Me and Poker go all Scientologist".

So first off, Poker is not the game its an idiot drunk I know. Second, Poker is his actual name not some dumb nickname we made up cause he plays poker, although he does and he sucks. If I had to give him a poker nickname, it would be something like "Sucks". Which is funny cause that's actually his nickname but for very different reasons. Anyway, poker wants to go to the restaurant in times sqaure that spins at the top of the hilton or some such hotel. i think its called windows on the world or something lame, and its pretty much a tourist trap as is the rest of times sqaure. But in this particular tourist trap there's a girl he knows who is a waitress. and for some unknown reason likes him enough to hook him up. So we go, eat some food from the buffet, but mostly drink. The drinking, as far as i can remember, was completely free or close enough that it didn't matter. And at the time I was on a 5 year scotch kick, so we drank alot of scotch. I don't remember exactly, but probably nothing real fancy. If i had to guess it would be dewars and/or johnny walker black based. Those are my standbys and since it was a hook up i wouldn't have ordered anything great. Oh, and I think we got there kinda drunk cause we had a pint of dewar on the cab ride over.

Long story short, we proceed to get awesome. Prob have like 8-10 whiskeys each on top of the pint over the course of 2 hours. At this point the somewhat stupid idea of a spinning restaurant has become stupider and nauseating. We decide its time to bring our earlier plan to fruition. That plan was going to the Church of Scientology across the street and meeting Tom Cruise. So we order a couple more shots each and head for glory.

Outside the we buy more dewars at the liquor store (i think. its all hazy at this point so some steps are based partially on memory and partially on knowing us). Then we start walking and meet 2 chicks. They were cute i think, prob about 25 or so. We tell them about our plan and that we'll probably need their help. Not with the plan but with having sex with after the plan. I hope Tom doesn't try to snake 'em away when we meet him, cause he's rich and all and totally free of those evil alien spirits that infect regular folk. Anyway, I figure we can take him if necessary. So the girls join the mission.

By the time we get to the Church its locked. Its probably about 10 or 11pm. We knock. Alot. Eventually someone comes to open the door, but its not Tom Cruise. He tells us to leave. We tell him no, we need to meet tom cruise. This does not impress the guy, so we change tactics (its called acting!) and tell him we want to become Scientologists. Being that he is a Scientologist, and thus stupid and easy to manipulate, this set him at ease and he invites us in. And remember, we are very, very drunk at this point and dragging two random bitches in tow who I believe were openly laughing at this point.

So now that we're in, we get back to the point and demand to see tom. The idiot insists he' not there (probably a lie). So poker goes for the next best thing and demands we see l. Ron Hubbard. Idiot says "he's dead"( definitely a lie). We proceed to yell at him alot and the girls lose interest and leave. Idiots.

Eventually we leave, disappointed. I can't recall thee exact circumstances of our departure or what happens for awhile after this. I think this is probably because we drink the other pint of dewars but I can't be sure. In any case the next think I do remember is waking up on the platform of the PATH train (i can't remember which station). But not of my own volition, more cauyse the cops are kicking me. Not hard, just enough. They kinda carry me out of the station and yell at me. I explain how responsible i was by not driving or vomiting in the station and that they should let me go home. they agree and let me back in the station. they should not have agreed.

I wake again, this time on the train. i am not alone. in fact, there are several you gentlemen surrounding me and 2 with their hands in my pockets. Were there hands cold and they were trying to warm them, you ask? Unfortunately, no. They were robbing me. I approximate there were 5 guys about 19 or 20. We fight. I am a good decision maker.

The fight starts well for me. I push the 2 guys closest backwards. This is the apex of the fight for me. I stand, i am beaten badly. They move to the next car. Other passengers are seated. they watch in silence. I am bloodied. I follow them to the next car. Very Smart. We fight. I am beaten more. I hit on guy pretty good. They move on again to the next car. I look at my shirt (which is white) and its covered in blood (mine of course). And I mean COVERED. I used to have a picture. It was on my girlfriend's camera. she's is long gone and the picture likely lost. I follow. This time they do not engage immediately, I imagine because i am drenched in blood which is still pouring out of my nose and mouth. The train stops. Its the pavonia stop, close to my house. The doors open. I look at them, they look at me. I look at my shirt. I get off the train. I am beaten. Tom Cruise failed me again. Poker is missing. My nose is clearly broken badly.

I check my pockets and still have my cash and phone. Wallet is gone. Assholes. I try to get a cab at the stand near the station. No one will take me. Apparently being covered in blood is a "problem". Idiots. Finally some dude driving by stops and picks me up. Takes me back to my place. Thank you dude. I meant to send you a present or something but I lost your number. I get to my apartment and I don't have keys. My GF is out with some other chick (at this point I think we've started to hate each other a little, but the full on hate that is to come). I call her and yell at her for not being home when i'm all fucked up. She says she's coming home. I hang up. I find my keys in my pocket where they were hidden. I go to sleep. I am legend.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

yet another way the redskins suck
The relationship between the timing and outcomes of the Washington Redskins' football games and the frequency of admissions to hospital emergency rooms in northern Virginia is investigated. An OLS time series analysis is conducted, controlling for days of the week, months, years and special holidays for 1988-1989. The results indicate that the frequency of admissions of women victims of gun shots, stabbings, assaults, falls, lacerations and being struck by objects increases when the team wins. We hypothesize that many of these injuries are the result of battering and that having a favorite team win may act as a trigger for assault in some males. We suggest that viewing the successful use of violet acts may give the identifying fan a sense of license to dominate his surro

I know no one reads this blog but

I'm wondering what's the timeframe for final passage of HCR and Obama signing the bill? After the Senate passage of their bill, it goes to conference committee, then there's presumably some kinda fight with house progressives, then a revote on the final reconciled bill. So how long is this all expected to take. I haven't seen anyone discuss this. Inquiring mind want to know.

(don't everyone respond at once)

UPDATE: I got a response to my question over at Kevin Drum's blog on
I think the goal is Obama signing something (and calling it "reform") in February, just in time for his first State of the Union Address.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The morality of walking away

So, there's been an ongoing discussion on another blog ( on the morality of walking away from a mortgage if you're underwater. In particular if you could continue to pay, but decide its a bad economic decision. I think the whole idea of viewing a business contract from a moral point of view is silly. So in the interest of having a new post on my own blog, i'll just copy my posts from bubblemeter.

Morality does not enter into the equation. These are contractual obligations in
which both parties understand the risks. We can't apply arbitrary moral
standards to one side of a contract (the consumer) while the other side
(whatever corporate or government agency) is exempt. No one expects citibank to
consider the morality of foreclosing on a mortgage or making a loan. And to make
the game fair, the consumer has to use the same decision making standards. Its
the invisible hand of the market acting rationally. I'm surprised that a
libertarian would make this types of morality

There is also no "abdication or responsibility" here (as kevin argued). The borrower is responsible to pay his loan or to move out of the house. if the bank made a loan for more than the house was worth to a person who stops paying then they lose money. thats called risk. its why borrowers pay prime+risk premium. this is how loans and investing work. pardon me if i don't shed a tear for the poor bank who just didn't know that their stupid loans might default. perhaps when everything was going smoothly in 2007 the banks should have made the "moral" decision that their borrowers had made a bad decision in overpaying for the house and dropped the principal amount? Or the seller could have come back and said "my bad, i totally overcharged you so let me pay you 200k. that's the moral thing to do". I don't remember anyone here advocating that. But it sure would have be moral and responsible of them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So Obama bowed to Japan's Emperor

And surprise, surprise the right wing it apoplectic. According to Rove, Fox et al, by making a symbolic gesture of respect to an revered old man means Obama is weak and demeaned along with the USA as a whole. I find this to be an oddly overt expression of the deep insecurity of the modern american political right. They are in constant fear and express it through this ultra machismo bullshit. If they didn't constitute one of the two major political parties it would just be sad. Instead its scary. Everything is a big pissing contest to prove manliness, which is exactly what those who are trying the hardest to hide their fear do. I hate to resort to this kind of simplistic psychological analysis on people I've never even met, but the evidence is overwhelming. Its just like the pants pissing that Giuliani and the rest did about bringing terrorists to trial in New York. Its scary and dangerous and our children will be kidnapped etc. I mean wtf?

The only thing I can't be sure of is if the politicians themselves are this scared or if they're just playing on the fears of voters. I imagine its a little of both. They share many of the same fears as their base such as brown people, gays, and 'socialist medicine'. So they know how to lie and exaggerate to whip the fringe into a frenzy of fear and hate.

Obama's bow is the act of a man of confidence. The screaming from the crazies is the mark of fear and weakness.

Friday, October 30, 2009

of zombies and septuplets

So the halloween plan is zombie john and kate + 8 decapitated babies (dolls, not actual. we had to consider costs). I'll post pics for your enjoyment soon. And by "your" i mean no one, because no one has ever read this blog. Lets keep it that way.

what to do in afghanistan?

So I heard an interview with that Hoh guy from the State Dept about why he resigned his post and left afghanistan. In short, I found his arguments persuasive. There were 2 core points I took away.
1) The "enemy" in Afghanistan is totally independent and organic. This may seem like common, mainstream knowledge but he took it to an extreme level or granularity. According to Hoh, troops will enter a peaceful, non-combat zone, like a new valley in the mountains. There may be no good reason to even go to the valley from a strategic sense. Its just another piece of land that someone decided we should "hold". And all of a sudden locals spring up to fight American forces simple because they are on their local tribal land and the Taliban or some related group may decide to pay locals to support this. So in this scenario of local tribal militias at every turn, there's basically no way for a small, though highly sophisticated, occupying force to "win". There's no central command to surrender or to kill. And there's no effective, domestic central government to enter and take control if we do clear a region of active insurgents temporarily. We can't win in this environment.
2) The second and really more important factor is our very purpose in fighting this war has evaporated. We went to kill, capture and disrupt Al Qaeda operatives and their camps. We did that and Al Qaeda's people have dispersed or been killed. Ho argues that we don't have to worry about them returning to create new training camps for 2 reasons. First they have many countries to operate in, so spending billions of dollars and hundreds of lives in afghanistan is a waste. Secondly, AL Qaeda has evolved to a completely dispersed organization with small cells of a few people communicating and coordinating over the internet. They've learned this is the only way to survive now and they won't go back to big training camps with large groups of people. We are once again fighting the last war while our enemies have moved on to new tactics on a new battlefield.

In general this analysis fits in with what other sources I find valuable have said and with historical analogs of the situation. So now Obama has to have the courage to be the one who "loses" the war that Bush started and the top general in charge still says he can win. And he has to do this while the country is in a vast recession with record unemployment levels. That a tough job for anyone and I sympathize with him. But in the end I think he has to end the war and accept the political repercussions.