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Home November 2011
November 2011

The Rockford Files

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h/t The Pretense of Knowl;edge, the Rockford Files is on Netflix!

Impressions from the first two episodes:

a) Gretchen Corbett is really attractive; I had such a crush on her.

b) Interesting that an episode with ads cleared out runs 50 minutes in 1974; not so long now.

c) Were there really only six seasons?

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 November 2011 13:33

Climategate 2.0

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Whoever leaked the University of East Anglia e-mails has just leaked a bunch more, and has made it clear, as not done last time, that there is a whack more to come at some point (currently behind 256-bit AES protection).

What we have seen has already exposed a somewhat unseemly collection of behaviors among the main IPCC 'scientists' (the word requires rabbit quotes for these people), but this e-mail indicates a much deeper problem.

Hoe does ANYONE ever again take Trenberth seriously? Or the Nobel committees?


Gigantic Pet Peeves

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They may seem small, but I would appreciate broadcasters who could get this.

a) When you have characters on the radio and the TV with doorbells, could you PLEASE go out of your way to make those doorbells not sound like any of ours, the listeners'?

b) When doing a news report on the radio, could you try to make sure that you have no emergency signals in the background that sound as if they might be coming at me in my car stupidly listening to your careless broadcast?

c) And a new one tonight (this from 'Criminal Minds'), look, please don't make someone's home alarm go off that sounds standard. There I was so happy urinating when the beeping started. It was not even a good episode of 'Criminal Minds'.

Grrr. Of course I suspect all these people are going out of their way to prank me.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 November 2011 06:24

A New Series - Things I have learned so far in Retirement

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Things I have learned from seeing pretty much every episode of Criminal Minds:

'Unsubs' are just unspeakably unpleasant people. You should not name their names. They pretty do much not care for your welfare. Go out of your way NOT to let them in your house, and try to be really careful about going out yourself if one may be locally on the loose.

Their weird nastinesses are apparently subject to psychological analysis by a very special team who almost get everything wrong for two thirds of an episode each week until one member has an epiphany. And then, if you made the mistake of going out, or letting an unsub in, that team might JUST be able to stop your murder.

I have also learned that behind such a team there is a geeky woman who runs a computer lab that I am quite certsin is entirely unable to do 90% of what this show tells me she can do with it. OTOH, I am indeed retired, and she still has her job. I might be wrong.

For me the best thing, and there is NO sarcasm here, is that Paget Brewster has a GREAT nose, and I am so glad she has not submitted it to alteration! It is pleasing to know some actors do not bend so easily. (And yes I know Paget Brewster came aboard only after the character Kate was killed - for Pete's sake, I watch this in syndication! - and that she too  got killed off, but temporarily).

I now ask of my tiny audience (and I love you all, just like Lady Gaga) to suggest the next series to get a post!



Obama Decides to Make His Daughters Miserable

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By forcing them to participate in the idiotic ceremony that makes it clear to a nation every year that killing birds is part of their festive behavior.

Watch the video at that link and watch them both squirm and look incredibly uncomfortable. I don't think their schoolmates will have much praise for them next week.

Just another bit of evidence that thge guy is a dolt.


It Actually Took Me a Second to Get It

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But it is brilliant.

And I was actually for a while a professional logician (a worrisome concept, I grant).


Was Sid Ryan so Awful?

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Again, and I find this weird, I do not entirely agree with my favorite CAW member, nor with SunNews.

I thought Sid was pretty straight - he came for his media op, got it, had no wish to explain whether he was being provocative, and did not agree with Sun's Jacqui Delaney on whether he eas 'responsible'.

ANd said he had to get back to 'the hall' (my favorite bit, as I believe that was likely the Sheraton with a catered lunch for his factotums).

Sid was just being a union leader.


The little Buggers have Legs!

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This made me laugh so hard.

And I'd have thought the biologists cited had access to helicopters!

And birds have wings and fish have fins.

In this Case, I am with the NDPers

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... who are not sure of the lyrics of 'O Canada'.

We regularly change or try to change the stupid lyrics; the only place I ever find I need to sing the stupid song is at BlueJays games, and there the Jumbotron feeds you the lyrics. What a great hacking opportunity!

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h/t my favorite CAW Worker, with whom I think I disagree about this


What a Great Chat - Randy Bachmann

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This is just so unbelievably enjoyable.

Bachmann hosts one of the best shows on CBC Radio, Vinyl Tap. The Les Paul story is insanely great.


NCIS Really Lucks Out

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Wow! You get Robert Wagner playing DiNozzo Sr. having anger management problems and accused of murder!

I wonder when they put this episode together; they could not find a better time to show it.


Silly is not Entirely an Insult

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Our really tough protestors at Occupy Toronto have folded pretty much totally, which seems pretty Canadian to me, and utterly silly, and good. What I find so funny is that their triumph is that the police will not burn the books in their library. As if anyone ever wanted to! Well, except I did see a David Suzuki book (natch), but then hey, maybe it's better for a whole bunch of revolutionaries to share one copy rather than bestow more royalties on St. David.

We love to bestow praise on our losers (our national heroes are people who failed in their tasks) so expect some Heritage moments in a few years for one of the idiots who was screwing up our public park. It is too soon to know who will win the biggest loser role.

Good job, Mayor Ford and Bill Blair.

And good job, useless losers for recognizing who you are.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 13:25

WTF Is a Yurt?

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Yeah I know there is a Wikipedia article, but I somehow suspect that the Occupy Toronto structures about to be disassembled (AT LAST!) by our police are not actually yurts, since I doubt there are many Turkic nomads occupying St. James Park.

This was pretty peaceful but is turning into a bit of silly theater, as Sid Ryan has led a herd of Ontario Federation of Labor officials, who were meeting in a high-end hotel (as is their wont) to march down to witness events and display silly indignation. I hope they can get back in time for their catered lunch.

Many downtown streets are closed for this nonsense.

I will give credit to one reporter. The 'yurt' most deeply defended (apparently some of the idiots figured out how to chain themselves to stuff) is what they call the library. As the reporter noted, "Those Noam Chomsky books are a real treasure." (How she must have suffered at Ryerson.)

(Amusingly, one of the 'yurts' was quickly taken down by OPSEU (one of our disgusting public sector unions) when they realized that if the police took it down it would be scrapped and they'd lose their investment. Sometime property rights matter!)


I Love this Ad

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Disclosure - I have the cheapest cellphone I could get from my service provider.


Occupy Toronto is Coming Down - Finally

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Toronto police are clearly letting this go very slowly to avoid any excitement. It will be interesting to see what follows, after today's expulsion of these asinine time-wasters. They have had a lot of support from local unions but I suspect they have lost the public opinion battle. And we also know that OCAP is there, so I would expect some violence before the whole nonsense is dismantled.

Looking at the markets today, I'd say "Please, more corporate greed! Don't give up."


I Give In

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I never plan to deep-fry a turkey, but I give in and post this hilarious video (Shatner, even playing Kirk, has always been a natural comedian).

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Dancing With the Stars Season 13

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I am not sure why I did not start watching this show until a few years ago; I undoubtedly missed a fair bit of drama.

This has been one very odd season, with the early elimination of Kristin Cavallari and Chynna Phillips, who were clearly at the time of elimination much better dancers than  several of the survivors. Of course much has to do with the fan base and the public voting; I did rather little myself this year until the last few episodes. I could not save Hope Solo (though I thought her ejection was just).

I did cast most of my available votes at the end for JR, though I also thought Ricki Lake was the best dancer of the bunch left. I wonder how many others behaved this way.

In the end the participant who most exceeded my expectations was Rob Kardashian. I hope he finds a role in life other than being a 'star', which appears to be all his sisters do.

As ever it was an interesting and educational season.


I Do Covet a Christine Lagarde Kiss

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But not if I must become the head of state or prime minister of some Euro state! That is too high a price!

Farewell Regis and Kelly

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And I will say I hardly ever saw the show before I retired a couple of years ago. But since, I am astonished at how charming Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa are. And how positive!

Regis has now left - and I was stunned at how fast the title of the show was gone (and I think they are right - they may not find a host like Regis so let's make it 'Live with Kelly').

But to connect with my previous post look at how great Kelly is with the utterly magnificent (if not entirely in-tune) Taylor Swift.

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She is an insanely better songwriter than singer.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 14:48

60 Minutes on Taylor Swift!

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Thanks so much. In a sea of vulgarity she is so refreshing (the vulgarity is not so much in country music and she identified there early, though her music is clearly more widely popular).

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I hope that link survives - there are many others - search at YouTube for "Taylor Swift 60 Minutes" and pick a contribution about 14 minutes long!

There are nice things - though Stahl seems to think her wandering through the audience is fresh to her; I saw Keith Urban doing exactly what is described. And moreover, as she has opened for Keith Urban, she may have learned it from him. Stahl also mentions she has a great sense of humor, but the segment leaves out this, which also proves she opened for Urban.

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It is absolute genius, and took a lot of hard work.

What a precocious and delightful force!

And she can write tender and moving, as I have posted before.

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Taylor Swift, please keep enriching my life! I am proud to be among the 12-year-old girls.

Last Updated on Friday, 02 December 2011 13:09

Another Great Economics Post - from EclectEcon

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Read it here, and the summary is:

If universities are failing, it is because there are too many professors in too many fields claiming to know what gubmnt should do to solve the problems of the world. If economists have a little humility and claim that while markets fail, so do "experts" and politicians, we should be lauded, not scorned, for providing balance to the typical elitism that passes for erudition at major universities.

By the way if you wonder about the effects of assortative mating, consider that smart people likely to make a lot of income tend to marry smart people liikely to make a lot of income, and OWS occupiers tend to mate with OWS occupiers. I am not sure there is a policy solution for that.


Another Worthwhile Analysis from Worthwhile Canadian Initiative

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It is surely the best blog to read on the Canadian econonmy and this is a typical post.

Without explicitly saying it, it tries to make a point Andrew Coyne made about the 1% nonsense in Macleans.

From the post:

The story before the mid-1990s is pretty grim: stagnant incomes and increasing inequality. But first-order measures of inequality have levelled off since then, and median incomes - in particular, median incomes after transfers and taxes - have grown appreciably. To a very great extent, the belief that most people have not benefited from economic growth is not consistent with data from the last fifteen years. Moreover, the recipe for reducing first-order inequality is fairly straightforward: strengthen the system of transfers.

And the summary:

I think this distinction is important:

  • Arguments to the effect that inequality is stable because the Gini index has levelled off are addressing first-order inequality, not top-end inequality.
  • An excessive focus on top-end inequality - at the expense of first-order inequality - means that too much attention is paid to taking from the rich, and not enough to the other half of Robin Hood's agenda.

Remember too that Robin Hood's problem was confiscatory taxation.


Dancing With the Stars Live-Blog Final

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Ricki Lake starts off = she has amazed me, though I did learn she has a bit of a dance background. I expected NOTHING of her and have got SO much more! She knows her lines, even though she does not have the lines of slimmer dancers, but Derek Hough is one of the greatest partners.

Well, I really liked that! Did the judges? Bruno says she has never been hotter, and she takes it very cooly. I suspect Bruno's judgment is a little different from miine but this show has made me think of Ricki Lake in a new way!

Scores are 9 across the board. It is mentioned that Hough has a great record in finals.

Bust so has Cheryl Burke! And so out comes Rob Kardashian, who is an even bigger surprise to me that Lake. And Burke is one tough teacher - I think she is who I would want in his siuation.

Rob Kardashian projects a sweet modesty (brutal bunch of sisters?) but he has grown. As usual it is Len who finds the technical complaints (well, they all did, but he is much more censorious).

Score is 9's all across.

I will flatly confess I want JR to win. He has been amazing (and may also has a dance background, but certainly has an IED background). Moreover, JR helps make Karina look really good.

OK for me that was utterly unreal! I love that guy. And I love how he is not the guy they showed us in hospital bed lying beside his mother shortly after the IED explosion.

Huh - interesting - seems the judges' fix is in. I have become quite suspicious of this, especially after Len made Maksim explode. That was really Len's fault. He could have scored the same, but not been so explicit about why.

Scores - 8 (CA) -7 (Len) -9 (BT).

My favorite is in last but I cannot find a way to resent anyone else winning. I could never have imagined saying that about Rob Kardashiam and would have been surprised about RickiLake. But then I had never heard of JR!

OK Derek and Ricki wow wow wow! I suspect we are seeing that she is in the first couple of years, as she has confessed, of a new romantic relationship. And Derek Hough really is superb!

Scores: 9-s.

OK Rob and Cheryl now waltz. The rehearsal extracts are fun - she has mischief. As it seems he has ambition. Good.

Bizarre chreography but she put him in charge! And he took it! Bruno is stunned.  Well, I was. And both other judges! Scores 10-s across. Oh dear!

My cynical intention was to cast all my votes for JR. Rob Kardashian has made it very hard for me to do that and maintain my few shreds of integrity. You Kardashian!

(And apologies to Rickie - you may have to get a couple too.)

OK that was jjust astonishing and so sexy. As Len said, "Two things were revealed, Karina - your body, and JR your talent".And so funny - the celebrity saved the dance!

Score is 10-s across.

So what the hell do I do now to be honest?

And this is at the end of the best ever DWTS final I have seen.

And after voting I feel dirty.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 November 2011 21:07

Man Language Has Its Pitfalls

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Justin Trudeau Tweeted earlier today:

Our environment minister couldn't answer the question "What is ozone?" All he had to say to shoot me down was say "O-3", and sit down.

I got into a wonderfuly twitty tweeety debate about whether the minster, Mr. Kent, had responded correctly. Seems O-3 would be right without the dash. With the dash it looks smarmy and slightly intended as a gotcha.

In any case some media tweeted all over me when I defended this response as almost right, and attributed it to Kent, as I read the original tweet.

And now I realize the root cause!

Read what Trudeau said carefully! Have I a fair right to interpret that as meaning that Kent simply said O-3 and sat down? I think I do. Though I grant it is a stretch.

This is wonderfully inept use of English in my view.

Of course in a moment of triumph, and with the 140 character pressure, it can be hard not to be ambiguous.

I think my error arose from two points, one, a low view of Mr. Trudeau, and the assumption that he would be shot down by a ptihy response, and, secondly, the higher notion that had it happened, he would have been so strong as to tweet about it.

It's pretty clear I was wrong on at least one of those counts, and I suspect both.

I repeat - it is not "O-3" which also confused me, but rather O3.

(On the other hand, why is the chemical composition of ozone any sort of issue? Surely members should also understand some economics and other technical issues, and the PCs are hardly uniquely deficient on that front!)

Last Updated on Monday, 21 November 2011 16:29

Ashbridge's Bay, Nov. 21, 20011

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Cold enough that I had a leather jacket on over my normal two layers, unlike the usual windcheater of the last few weeks. It was not so cold as I feared (no wind) but most other folks out looked like Eskimos, as the song goes.

No snow though (Yay!) and it was pretty clear that the leaves are being discarded at a good clip too; moreover, it was pretty grey and wintery in feel.

We're well into winter birds though these specks in the picture above are all mallards, as I recall.

But the oldsquaws are back in force and I saw even a merganser!

One bit of good news - work progresses on the mooring docks that collapsed - we now have horizontal planks attached to the steel girders.

But the little mammals know what's coming, so there is a lot of work going on building the rather ugly structures in trees like this:

As an early picture indicated leaf loss is amazing at this point. Of course the evergreens (mostly spruce, it seems, though I should look more closely) will hold out all winter, and at the moment the fakey Larches still have most of their needles, though they are close to coughing them up.

There is one very funny exception roughly where one leaves the parking lot to join the path. One very defiant maple!

First walk that really felt like winter. I hope I get a lot more in. Toronto Weather, hear that! Keep snow away. Send it to the US NorthEast as was done last year!




Last Updated on Monday, 21 November 2011 16:51

President's Cup Final Day

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Well I managed to see the foursomes but slept through the four-balls (I could likely be watching them now on NBC).

I am just hoping I get to see the finish tonight.

It does seem it was quite a roller-coaster even in the part I missed.

Tonight though! Some definite Wows. Mickelson-Scott! Furyk-Els! And Stricker anchoring the US!

I am very impressed with Couples' work as captain; I think he knows tehse players really well, as surely he ought to.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 November 2011 18:23

Headline - Man With US Passport Blows Himself Up in Afghanistan

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That's a headline that just cruised past me on CBC NN (CBC's News Netwrok).

Assuming the lede is not somehow buried, I can only rejoice. A true suicide bomber! One of the few I have ever heard of.

We should rejoice and praise him to the skies.

Unless of course there is more to this than the headline.


This Makes Me Hope for Her Royalties

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SillyWife has an intimate connection with this week's NY Times Acrostic, which I just, unsuspecting, solved!

I had a lot of difficulty guessing the name of the author until the title of the book became clearer.

The link above is unlikely to last long. I'll work on some more permanence.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 November 2011 12:00

What Do You Do at 4 in the Morning? - We Get to Occupy Toronto

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Faron Young does one thing, and it is wonderful (and I recognize lots of it).

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Ezra Levant also has longings at that time, for genuine protestors. And he has less success finding them, of coure. What silly little pukes he finds.

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As with so much this would be funny if it were funny. What a useless generation of so-called protestors.

Clear them out!


Quebec! Australia!

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This is insanely good:

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I mean listen to it! It is the 60s and 70s part of the world wonderfully expressed. And we have about hit the part of the year when that opening Vigneault is just lovely: "Ahh, que les temps s'abregent" (sorry, don't do accents on this blog). I had already noted how it was dark here as those damned happy spring-summer Australians were enjoying their golf!

Still what a song! And performance?

(There will be sarcasm below - let it not apply to this utterly great song and performance.)

So why is there almost nothing of Monique Leyrac on YouTube?

Please tell me and make me feel good about it. I bet you cannot. I'd like to hear her 'Mon Pays'. I recall my vinyl album. WOWWWWW!

BTW there is also this wonderful:

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What's funny is he says his people just like yapping, don't much care what they say is true, but love listening to themselves. That's about right. Good song though. Hey we're Quebecers. Doesn't have to be true if we can get the Feds to pay for it!

And hey! just dumn  yapping makes them happy. Why does that not surprise me?

Last Updated on Friday, 18 November 2011 20:35

Prime Suspect US Episode 8

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Well I think Duffy and Timoney are learning to work together with some mutual respect.

Of course I assumed this is where we would head, and I wanted us to, and it is going very differently from the somewhat similar drift of the ITV Prime Suspect.

I think I like this show better. It knows, like an American show, how to do a one-hour episode. I find the police banter more plausible (but what do I know?)

But this heresy may rankle some. I think Maria Bello and her character are far more plausible than Jane Tennsyon ever was, much as I love Helen Mirren.

Again there is a US-UK issue, but Timoney seems more plausibly connected to her job than Tennyson ever did to me. Aidan Quinn is stunningly good at almost being invisible.

And episode 8 was excellent; Duffy and Timoney actually worked very well together, and clearly finished the episode with a belief in one another.

These are at the moment the career roles of two fine actors, so expect the show to be canceled.


President's Cup Day Three

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I somehow doubt I am going to see all of the (Australian) day's play. The commenters on TV seemed to suggest that play could continue to 3am or 4am my time.

It is already starting to darken here!

With the greens a little slower, there is a bit more of a roller-coaster tournament going on, with the US coming out of the starting gates with their initial teams starting really well, but International nicely back in play.

Foursomes are entertaining to watch!

UPDATE: After another five mibnutes, it's all back the other way! This could be a lot of fun.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 November 2011 16:38

President's Cup Day Two

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Thank you organizers for starting when I am likely to be awake!

I did some reflecting listening to the morning golf news. thinking about foursomes. It must be an incredibly emotional team sport. As you stand over the ball, your partner has either given you a good position (and you think, what a cool dude) or has put you in an awful spot (and you think something different).

Either way there is potential for a positive feedback loop. Never a prety thought.


President's Cup Part II

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OK I failed. I fell asleep.

And then during the news reports in the morning all I heard about was the humiliating result in the Tiger Woods match. Little did I hear, which I learned later, that the US took a 4-2 lead in the opening round. I now think the US captain should have picked ME instead of Tiger. For one thing I'd like to have visited my Australian family (though half of it is currently in California). And I suspect I could have put the US out of its misery in my match a little faster than Tiger did.

But one question has come to mind. Does the US do better or worse in the President's Cup relative to the Ryder Cup. I am too lazy to go check myself. The mathie in me knows what the answer SHOULD be.

The question is a bit related to my annoyance at the Solheim Cup's exclusion of Asia, which is where the world's major women's golfing talent is now. There should be some team thingie - in this case it would only be fair if were Asia (excluding the newly Obama-annexed Hawaii) against the rest of the world. Perhaps in ten years there will be a Chinese refinery company ready to sponsor such a match.


Positive Feedback Loops

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I suspect that Tyler's posting this graph will itself make things worse. I'd get all the money I had out of Italy.

Poor Italy has a lender of last resort, but it's not in Italy, and I think it legally cannot do much to help, because of Weimar history.

Oh Europe!


President's Cup

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Well hell, I don't think I understood, though a moment's thought about the geography would tell me, that I have to sleep during the days for the next while.

A side comment - as US Captain I would pick Woods and put him in crucial matches.

He may be a distatsteful person but that would not be my problem.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 18:49
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November 24 2010