28 December 2010

A brief personal interlude

I am temporarily down south in the unnamed port city. It has been chilly. Actually, it's been pretty damn cold. Nothing quite like back home in Wilkesboro though. Bad enough though. We took two nights to get here so we could spend some quality time together with the little lummox in the Greyhound Flats of Beaufort, SC. I'll write about that on that other blog, but we had a great time.

We are here in the great port for another few days then back up to the Great White North, formerly known as Western North Carolina. Until then I may or may not spend much time blogging.

Oh yes. I am also trying to figure out how to set up my new Kindle e-reader that Carmen got me for Christmas. Text on it looks great.

Lord knows I haven't spent any time sending out Christmas cards.


Another Churchill Quote

Of the Germans:
“They are carnivorous sheep.

Totally unfair of course, but then there was that affair of the Third Reich.

From this little article.

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Without Comment

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19 December 2010


And Merry Christmas!

from some very creative high school students.

and, of course, from Clemens and Carmen who are on their way to warmer venues.


16 December 2010

Old News, very old news

This is one of those things, like the fact that TV commercials are louder than the programs, that we have always known, despite the fact that people whose income is involved tell us it's nonsense. Expensive wines are better than cheap wines because ...

.... because they're expensive.

Freakenomics Radio
has the info. Here's my favorite quote:
One of these researchers is Robin Goldstein, whose paper detailing more than 6,000 blind tastings reaches the conclusion that “individuals who are unaware of the price do not derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine.”

Then there is the noted Princeton economist (and wine buff) Orley Ashenfelter quoted on the same site about expertise in general:
I mean, S&P, Moody’s, Fitch, these people all rated securities that apparently completely tanked. So there’s obviously something in the demand for expertise, the imprimatur, which is not really about the fact that they do a good job. By the way, those organizations are not transparent either, just as the Wine Spectator isn’t. So there’s some similarity here that I think probably gives us a little insight into things that are much broader than wine and food.

Which explains my contempt for most (not all) "consultants." It's something I learned when I worked for a big computer company.

But, practical use of this new found old news: Buy one really really expensive bottle of wine. Drink it. Preferably just you and perhaps one other. Then lay the bottle on your sideboard in full sight at your next wine party and serve the cheap but good Chilean wine you got at the grocery store.

In a decanter next to the empty bottle.

If my family contained anyone who actually liked good wine I would try it this holiday in that smelly old port city to our south.

Nota bene: Carmen makes objection to that last comment about the infamous port city. Just thought I'd let you know for the record.

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15 December 2010

What did the Tea Party really mean?


It was always about nothing. It was a phantom movement with incoherent goals and nebulous membership and leadership.

Now, the proof: no one in the new Congress, even those elected by the 'The Party' is paying much attention to them. Here's the opening line of Dana Milbank's assessment in today's Washington Post:
Dear Tea Party voter: You've been had.
But stay tuned, the cable news and the MSM and the Blogs will be bringing back the specter of the dread Tea Party for years now.

ever hear of the Soccer Moms?


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13 December 2010

Best Tex-Mex food in Helsinki

No Comment (Christmas gift edition)

09 December 2010

Man of the people

It is an endless source of amusement to watch wealthy politicos try to come of as just one of us. George W Bush was exceptionally good at this despite all evidence that he was the Ivy League millionaire raised Episcopalian member of the elite.

Here come's another one: Mike Huckabee is moving to Florida and is building a $3 million mansion to accommodate his modest needs.

He gets big bonus points in the amusement category by claiming that it is a personal decision NOT based on political needs (e.g. Florida primaries) but that it accommodated his travel needs to New York for his TV show on Fox News.

New York via Florida? Must fly his own jet plane too.

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07 December 2010

I've always suspected this

And now David Brooks draws our attention to a recent study:
Classic research has suggested that the more people doubt their own beliefs the more, paradoxically, they are inclined to proselytize in favor of them. David Gal and Derek Rucker published a study in Psychological Science in which they presented some research subjects with evidence that undermined their core convictions. The subjects who were forced to confront the counterevidence went on to more forcefully advocate their original beliefs, thus confirming the earlier findings.

This I already knew, or at least suspected, based on my experience with two close friends.

one was struggling to not believe he was gay, the other that his political beliefs made no sense by his own values.


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Without Comment - Watterson edition

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02 December 2010

Murder in Paradise

Carmen and I once spent a nice afternoon in the sleep little village of Celebration, Florida. Not exactly paradise, it is a planned community designed and built to narrow specifications by Walt Disney Inc. Not sure what the police department is like. We had fun, though there is a slightly "Stepford Wives" feel to the place. It is way to clean to be a comfortable place for the likes of me (or Carmen for that matter) to feel comfortable in.

Now, for the first time in 14 years, it has a homicide.

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