Monday, July 30, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited

The trailer for Wes Anderson's next film, the Darjeeling Limited, is out (ht Bobby). The film is slated to hit theaters September 29. Three estranged brothers, played by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman, take a train through India to reconnect. I couldn't be more excited about a movie. All of Wes' films are among my favorites: Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic. Each was better than the last, until the Life Aquatic, which while great, didn't quite capture the magic of Rushmore and Royal Tenenbaums. Wes wrote the first three films with Owen Wilson and Aquatic with Noah Baumbach. This time Roman Coppola and Schwartzman help out with the script.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fat Cats

The stock market, after soaring in recently, had a rough week. However, the DOW is still above 13,000 and GDP is up 3.4% for the second quarter, the best quarter in over a year. The media, in their quest for doom and gloom always choose to play up the bad news (ht, at least when a Republican is in office. But why should they pay attention to the stock market at all? I thought only the fat cats on Wall Street were affected by the market. How many times have we been told that the gains on Wall Street are not being shared by those on Main Street? Democrats are making plans to "tax the rich" by increasing the capital gains tax. Increasing the capital gains tax will lower overall investment, hurting the stock market and the economy. The average Joe depends on the stock market's performance for at least his retirement account. The Democrats can't seem to get it through their heads one simple fact: Low taxes = good for economy, high taxes = bad for economy. I guess it doesn't matter if you can take money from one group of people and giving it to another to buy votes.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

President Dick Cheney

Liberals' worst nightmare is finally realized - Dick Cheney is now president. The only man they hate more than George W. Bush (no, I'm not forgetting Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Kim Jong Il) is Commander in Chief... for today. President Bush is having a colonoscopy today and is out of commission.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Robert "KKK" Byrd Wants Michael Vick Executed

Robert Byrd (Democrat - West Virginia) shouted from the Senate floor that he would like to see Michael Vick (aka Ron Mexico) executed for his cruelty to animals. Byrd has witnessed one execution and wouldn't mind seeing another "if it involves this cruel, sadistic, cannibalistic business of training innocent, vulnerable creatures to kill." Vick, as you might have heard, was just indicted for several felonies related to dog fighting and is alleged to have killed poorly performing dogs by shooting, drowning, electrocuting, and slamming them into the pavement. I am in no way a Vick supporter, but if I was once an "Exalted Cyclops" in the Ku Klux Klan (as Democratic Senator Robert Byrd was) I probably wouldn't be calling for any African American to be executed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Abortions for All (Miniature American Flags for Others)

Sorry to non-Simpsons fans for the reference. The leading Democratic candidates for president all agree on at least one thing (other than that we should surrender to Iran and Al-Qaida in Iraq): the government should pay for your abortion. According to Shrillary, Barack Hussein Obama, and your favorite trial lawyer, as part of their socialized medicine plans, the tax dollars that you and I pay should go toward killing babies. Oh, and Obama also wants sex ed for kindergarteners.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ending the Bad Things

First John Edwards promised that paraplegics would get up and walk, if only John Kerry was elected president. Then the $400 haircuts. Now, John Edwards has vowed to end all bad and unpleasant things by the end of his second year in office. "Racism will soon be a thing of the past," Edwards said. "Same goes for being picked last for playground athletics, AIDS, robbery, not having enough spending money, and murder. Because these things are bad and not good, I promise they will be eliminated."


Pagans in the UK have a huge fertility giant guy painted into the hillside. They're not too happy about his new neighbor, but you will be. Delicious forbidden doughnut...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rock Paper Scissors Strategery

The USARPS (America's official Rock Paper Scissors league, obviously) recently named a new champion (ht Freakonomics Blog). Jamie Langridge marched to victory through a field of 300, all winners of satellite tournaments around the country, while the nation watched on ESPN2 (well it probably got higher ratings than Gore's Live Earth). Langridge took home the $50,000 prize by employing a "complex reactive" strategy. Apparently there is a lot of strategy going on, while acting random doesn't seem like a bad idea either. Jamie set up opponents by using runs of repeated throws and by using a lot of rocks early and then knocking them out with scissors. Click here to join the league. Here's their pitch: "Too short for the NBA? Too scrawny for the NFL? Too drunk for the PGA? Forget them. The USARPS League welcomes you with open fists."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Taking Down the House

Sorry for the lack of posting, I just got back from a meeting in Las Vegas. I didn't do as well as Rain Man or Rusty Griswold, but pretty good. I also saw a bunch of the NBA rookies who are competing in the summer league right now. I talked to Greg Oden a little bit. He was wandering around aimlessly, as he is too young to gamble, even though he looks 50. Anyway, while this information would have been more useful to me on Sunday, I looked up the odds for the various games at the casino. On slots, the casinos take between 15.20 % (nickel) to 3.9% ($100). On double zero roulette (I've never seen a single zero) their take is 5.26%. For craps, which I have no idea how to play, you really have to know what you're doing because depending on how you bet, the odds favor the house by between .02 % and 16.67%. Blackjack is the most popular game for a reason, if you play by the book, the odds are .2% for a single deck, .63% for six decks. In reality, the advantage is much higher for the house because most people will gamble until they lose whatever they took out of the ATM.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Blacktop a Major Cause of Warming?

Moonbattery points out another chink in the armor for the global warming crowd: bias in collecting temperature data. Many sites used to measure temperature have changed significantly over time: blacktop, buildings, etc (do you think the site on the left changed at all in the last 100 years? Picture from moonbattery). This artificial warming has nothing to do with climate change. It is unlikely that a site will move toward a cooling bias, the opposite is far more likely. These sites indicate a slight warming trend over the last 100 years, but even if we accept this data as perfect, we have no idea how much of this .6 degree increase is due to carbon dioxide emissions, precipitation, or solar activity, among other things. Considering that the data is suspect, there may not be any climate change occurring at all.


Apparently these are the 10 best dunks of all time. I would have put Tom Chambers a little higher. And what about Vince Carter's dunk contest a couple years back?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Competitive Eating

Competitive eating fans, your wait is over. Today the Michael Jordan of hotdog eating, Kobayashi, goes for his 7th consecutive Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Championship. By the way, the undefeated Kobayashi is 145 pounds and has a six pack. This time he has a worthy competitor, American Joey Chestnut, who broke Kobayashi's record of 53 3/4 (guess what happened to the 1/4) with 59 1/2 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Kobayashi has been struggling with jaw problems, but says he is ready. "I really haven't had practice with my injured jaw. It was getting bad," he said through a translator. "Now I can get two fingers in [my mouth]."
Kobayashi may not stand a chance if Chestnut follows his plan. "I don't know what to expect," Chestnut said. "He looks ready. He looks like he's going to be at 100 percent, so I'll give 110 percent." 110%! That's like 66 hot dogs! By my calculations, Kobayashi will have to give 123% just to keep up.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bush Does Something Right

The press is in a rage over President Bush commuting Scooter Libby's prison sentence (no word on the rumors that Bush thought he was issuing a statement offering to drive Libby to prison). I believe this is the right move. Depending on the outcome of Libby's appeal, Bush may pardon him entirely. It can't hurt his approval ratings. Everyone knows that Libby did not reveal Valerie Plame's identity to the press, that was Richard Armitage, who has no connection to the White House. Libby was technically convicted of perjury, making false statements, and obstruction of justice for recalling that Tim Russert first told him about Plame's identity when it was really Dick Cheney, but the D.C. jury just wanted someone to pay for the Plame non-scandal.

Compare this action by Bush to the President Clinton's pardons (see wikipedia). He pardoned several people in exchange for payments to relatives, but most egregiously, he commuted the sentences 16 Puerto Rican terrorists. They were members of FALN, which set off 120 bombs in New York and Chicago, killing 6 and maiming dozens. Clinton's action was condemned by a vote of 95-2 in the Senate and 311-41 in the House. Why would he do this? The most plausible theory to me is that he thought it would help Hillary get the Puerto Rican vote in her New York Senate race.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Michael Moore's Sicko

Michael Moore's latest propaganda film, Sicko, is now in theaters. Surprisingly, Kurt Loder's review on (hat tip, is dead on in its criticism. Moore cherry picks data, shows people let down by our health care system, and glorifies the national health care of Canada, Cuba, and Europe to sell socialized medicine to the viewer. A few highlights from Loder's review:
Moore is also a con man of a very brazen sort, and never more so than in this film [Sicko].

As a proud socialist, the director appears to feel that there are few problems in life that can't be solved by government regulation (that would be the same government that's already given us the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Motor Vehicles).

And Dr. Brian Day, now the president of the Canadian Medical Association, muses about the bizarre distortions created by a law that prohibits Canadians from paying for even urgently-needed medical treatments, or from obtaining private health insurance. "It's legal to buy health insurance for your pets," Day says, "but illegal to buy health insurance for yourself." (Even more pointedly, Day was quoted in the Wall Street Journal this week as saying, "This is a country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and in which humans can wait two to three years.")

Writing in the Chicago Tribune this week, Helen Evans, a 20-year veteran of the country's National Health Service and now the director of a London-based group called Nurses for Reform, said that nearly 1 million Britons are currently on waiting lists for medical care — and another 200,000 are waiting to get on waiting lists. Evans also says the NHS cancels about 100,000 operations each year because of shortages of various sorts.

There is no limit to the demand for health care and unless you are a socialist, you know that taxes can't be raised infinitely. With socialized medicine, the only option available to the government is to ration health care. That means the government decides if you are sick enough for care, and if you don't like it, too bad. I prefer to weigh the costs and choose the plan best for me.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Has there ever been anyone so drunk on his own celebrity than Al Gore? He is a great example of how, when you are so sure you are right, the ends justify the means. Because global warming is such a huge threat, in his mind, drastic changes to our lifestyle are needed. Americans won't go for these changes unless they are scared. Enter his book and film. James M. Taylor challenges a number of Gore's key deceptions in the Chicago Sun-Times today. It appears that Big Al is preparing to run for president. My dream is that Hillary will win the Democratic nomination and both Gore and Ralph Nader run as independents. Romney, Thompson, or (hopefully not) Giuliani would win by 10% of the vote.