The Leaning Tower of Pisa

I was delighted to see this bit of outstanding news this morning. Leaning Tower of Pisa is Saved from Collapse. Good show, people. "The tower, which was on the verge of collapse, has been straightened by 18 inches (45 centimetres) returning it to its 1838 position." Setting the clock back 170 years. Not bad. Imagine being in charge of this project, eh? "However, halfway through the project, concerns at the ugliness of the weights led…Read More

An Observation

Though I certainly wasn't on hand to witness any of the excitement over the JesusPhone, I do find it some kind of wonderful that so many can be so excited about a product. It's important that it's true that such a thing could only be produced by means of some significant degree of human freedom of thought, action, and disposition of capital. Something like this will never be produced in a Castro's Cuba, a Chavalian…Read More

It is to Laugh

I just stopped in at the office and was listening to NPR on the way over. After the rather interesting interview with Paul Simon (hey, did you know that he and "Artie" were originally known as "Tom & Jerry" back in '57 when their first recordings were for sale, and it wasn't until 1964 they became known as Simon & Garfunkel?) they were talking about the Immigration Bill and whatnot and issues all peripheral all…Read More

Deconstructing the “Good Sounding” (Collectivism)

I recently did a little entry on the subject of "price gouging." Essentially, beyond the core reason that it's simply none of your business what anyone charges anyone else for a product or service -- or indeed, your business what someone else is willing to pay -- there are plenty of practical reason why "price gouging" is just hunky dory and I outline some of them. This morning I have this comment, which, if you…Read More

Pros vs. Amateurs

Today offered a great example of how amateurs, either through panic or what they're taught, often do the wrong thing. This chart to the left is roughly the first 15 minutes of play this morning in the S&P 500 cash index derivative market (SPX). Rather than opening at much of a gap down it opened and immediately bled off about 8 points in the first three minutes. Those bars are 3-minute bars, red is down,…Read More

Exactly

Sam Harris delivers a creative little piece that pretty much exactly frames my usual utter hostility to literal religious belief. I go in waves, of course, more tolerant at some times than at others. But even at my most tolerant, I still see the thing pretty much as utterly ridiculous as he lays it out. In the following essay, I present excerpts from actual reviews of recent atheist bestsellers, replacing terms like "religion," "God," and…Read More

Peacemakers

Let me be clear: I am neither amoral nor relativistic when it comes to war and the moral issues surrounding it (that's well documented here). Thus, I don't look at the following in a particularly cognitive manner, which is to say that it's kind of like listening to a piece of music composed expressly for the purpose of evoking human emotion at a level of depth that motivates contemplation and reflection -- reflection on the…Read More

Civil Disobedience

Here's the last paragraph of a long email from Billy, sent 1:30 a.m. his time. > I'm probably going to try to blog this. I'm not going > to put your name on it. You can jump in if you want > to, if I get it up. This morning, I replied. "I appreciate the courtesy, but it's always my policy to hang myself out there so I think twice next time I start to…Read More

Made in China

A marvelous streaming slide show by James Fallows. Unlike some, I just don't see the real downside in any of this. Essentially, China had no place to go but up and they recognized that for some time. Considering the gross evil of the past (which was far worse than any you find today), the near meltdown of Russia post-USSR, and more than a billion mouths to feed I can't help but consider that a gradual…Read More

Land of the Free Update

Now I hope this guy didn't ambush these sweethearts without them being aware and in on it. Allow them at least a few years of ignorant bliss, please, before they have no choice but to understand what it means to live in the "Land of the Free." On the other hand, I doubt the real "authorities" would spare them the shock of what real life for true pioneers and producers in Amerika is all about:…Read More

Have a little Heart

I've been waiting for two or three years to catch them when they blow through, but always foiled. Until now. So the venue is really great. Small winery amphitheater, but as I recall, really nicely raked; such that, essentially every seat is a great seat. I was only there once before, about a dozen years ago and very spur of the moment thing (like: grab the keys and go) for a jazz deal of no…Read More

Weekend Food Blogging – Sunday Cabin Breakfast

A quick throw together. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and fresh cantaloupe from one of the fabulous fruit & vegetable stands we stopped at on the way up (also were we got the salad ingredients for the dish below). The egg scramble is chopped tomatoes and onions sautéed in a bit of olive oil. Once most of the juice from the tomato has evaporated away, remove them to the egg mixture, add some butter (unsalted, please!) to…Read More

Weekend Food Blogging – Saturday Cabin Surf & Turf

A hearty but light meal, if that makes any sense. That's one sizable New York steak cut in half (well, almost...) and one king crab legs from the wonderful butcher's counter at Big Trees Market here in Arnold. The steaks are simply seasoned with salt & pepper and grilled outside to medium rare perfection (and I do mean perfection: I got it exactly right this time -- even Bea said so). Dealing with an actual…Read More

Real words to really live by

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool. - Richard P. Feynman That's from Feynman's Caltech 1974 Commencement Address (Beck: it's a PDF, eh.) "Cargo Cult Science." (link: maner)Read More

Cabin Tour

Though I haven't talked about it in a while, long-time readers know I can't shut up about our cabin in Arnold, CA. Continue on for the inside tour. We kind of came up spur of the moment yesterday and I didn't bring my regular camera, so there are with my phone, but really not too bad. This is what you'll see upon entry, the great room and loft where I have my office. Yea, you'll…Read More

How Times Change

Ulysses S. Grant, from his first inaugural address. A great debt has been contracted in securing to us and our posterity the Union. The payment of this, principal and interest, as well as the return to a specie basis as soon as it can be accomplished without material detriment to the debtor class or to the country at large, must be provided for. To protect the national honor, every dollar of Government indebtedness should be…Read More

Point of Order

Can I please stop hearing the jabber and seeing the gibberish that identify companies as "public companies," or, "publicly held?" There's no such thing, anymore than there's such thing as "the public trust." Gobbledygook; floating abstractions. They are publicly traded companies, meaning: that generally any member of the public may, if they so freely choose, buy and sell shares representing a fractional ownership of that company. They are not companies in which, literally, everyone owns…Read More

About a Million to Three

That feels like the score surrounding stuff I've read here and there about Paris Hilton: a million méchant assholes to three people who get what this is really all about: Karen DeCoster, Christopher Hitchens, and of course me (here and here). But Hitch is in a category all his own. I'm typing with my thumbs and working through a lobotomy by comparison. ...Not content with seeing her undressed and variously penetrated, it seems to be…Read More