Category Archives: probably not worth posting about

December 5, 2013, 10:02 pm

Niall Ferguson, Redux

I would like to offer translations of parts of Niall Ferguson’s recent blog post.


In any case, our 2010 letter did not make a prediction about inflation. What we said was:

The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed’s objective of promoting employment.

Note that word “risk”. And note the absence of a date.

means “I’m not quite wrong yet!”


Now, when someone of that caliber calls you out for having been wrong about the future path of inflation, you have a right to remind him that one of his “many mistakes’ included … being wrong about the future path of inflation. Guess what? Predicting the future path of inflation is actually quite difficult, whether or not you have a Nobel Prize.

means “I won’t even say ‘Paul Krugman’ because it’s that political thing where I can delegitimize someone by refusing…

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November 22, 2013, 4:01 pm


My beloved ordered a new phone last night, including the chance to inscribe something on its back. The choice wasn’t completely unlimited, however:


This, of course, led to 10 minutes of trying different, NSFW things, and some giggling (or dignified chuckling on my part). Yes, we are ten years old.

November 15, 2013, 5:18 pm

The Greek Chorus Of Junk Mail

Random excerpts from the junk mail I’ve received today:

Barack Obama May Be Finished Friday! Hang A Bunch is a 6-in-1 hanger that creates up to 600% more space in your closet. Organize your tops, jeans, dresses, and more;Donating-a-car is less work than selling it;September 10, 2013 (New York, NY): In a recent study by fat loss expert and two-time “Trainer of the Year” Billy Beck III, over twenty of his clients LOST between 20-40 lbs each…Their secret? Eating 1 TINY Fruit that is literally taking the diet industry by storm…News: Attention all present U.S. Homeowners: Obama has just eliminated all REFl-Requirements. This new-change will cut your current monthly home-payment in HALF; Do you desire to impress your woman at night? Off in the shower and DONT RUB IT OFF like a moron let it get soft and then gently help it off WORKS BUY IT NOW DID I MENTION IT WORKS APPLY TO BACK ARMS TO…

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October 11, 2013, 5:04 pm

Darth Vader Makes A Joke

From Peter Baker’s profile of the Bush-Cheney relationship:

A few weeks before Barack Obama’s inauguration, Joshua Bolten invited all of his predecessors to his office in the West Wing to meet with his successor, Rahm Emanuel. Thirteen of the living 16 men to have served as chief of staff attended, including Cheney, who was Gerald Ford’s top assistant. They went around the table one by one, offering advice. When Cheney’s turn came up, a devilish look crossed his face. “Whatever you do,” he said, “make sure you’ve got the vice president under control.”

The further irony, of course, is JOE BIDEN!

October 6, 2013, 3:00 pm

Exactly What Answer Do They Think They’re Going To Get?

From the New York Times, titled “Libyan Government Demands Explanation After U.S. Raid:”

A day after American commandos carried out raids in two African countries aimed at capturing fugitive terrorist suspects, Libya’s interim government on Sunday demanded an explanation from Washington for what it called the “kidnapping” of a Libyan suspect

“Yes, we violated Libyan sovereignty. Yes, we kidnaped a Libyan citizen. No, you can’t have him back. No, we’re not apologizing. Yes, we might do something similar in the future.”

I mean, come on, can we just go straight to the condemnation?

March 4, 2013, 2:38 pm


Gross lack of intellectual standards” could be the name of my next band:

Senator Sessions’s staff on the Budget Committee has contacted both me and my editor objecting to the item in the most strenuous terms. I have further explored the matter at length and determined that, in my haste, I treated Senator Sessions’s claims far too generously. Senator Sessions’s combination of ignorance and gross lack of intellectual standards turns out to be even more horrifying than I managed to initially communicate. Calling Sessions a “wonk McCarthyite” implies a level of policy understanding on his part that is wholly unsupported by the facts

That’s not a knife.

[Update: Sorry! Forgot the Chait link at first]

September 7, 2012, 1:19 pm

Possible Presidential Tickets For Next Time

EASTWOOD/CHAIR 2016 (wins the get out the furniture vote)

CLINTON/CLINTON 2016 (leads to first First Spouse)

CHRISTIE/EGO 2016 (self-explanatory)

OBAMA/BIDEN 2016 (think about it).

PAUL/PAUL 2016 (father and son ticket).

BIGDOG 2016 (never mind the 22nd amendment)

August 29, 2012, 5:05 pm

Romney to US: U Mad Bro?

Mitt Romney is surely the trollingest presidential candidate ever.

Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.

The exclusive event, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht “Cracker Bay,” was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney’s bid.

The rap on Romney is of course that he is inconsistent. Yet he persistently presents the impression that he is among the richest of men, in league with the richest of men and women, with little regard for the United States or its citizens except as a herd from which to extract profit.

That the yacht is (surely innocently) called Cracker Bay is only an extra incidental fillip for a candidate of the party that depends on the votes of white southerners.

June 9, 2012, 6:54 pm

Some notes on Prometheus and Jesus and Lawrence of Arabia.


Prometheus wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the Star Wars prequels, but my saying that tells you about how good it was. And it tells you what kind of movie it is, too - it is after all a prequel, that exists to explain a lot of the weird stuff in Alien. The thing is, as Patton Oswalt shrewdly notes, just because we like ice cream doesn’t mean we’d like to eat a bag of rock salt. We don’t actually want to see Darth Vader as a little kid; we don’t, really, need to know where the Alien came from and what the space jockeys were unless it’s wrapped in a story bigger than “oh, that’s what that thing was.”

There are, though, some parts of Prometheus that are truly excellent. Michael Fassbender is the main one. His performance as the android David is excellent. Fassbender should have been in a decent adaptation of an Asimovian robot story; he knows how to wrestle …

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June 8, 2012, 3:29 pm

Random Cheap Shot Of The Day

The Boston Globe is shockedshocked!–to discover that gambling public speakers sometimes give the same speech at different venues. Today’s object of their shock is Fareed Zakaria, the omnipresent media expert on foreign policy, who gave substantially identical talks at the commencements for Duke and Harvard, mere weeks apart.

Zakaria’s Harvard and Duke commencement speeches were essen­tially identical, built around the same anecdotes and points and often the same language. The addresses have set some at Harvard and Duke atwitter.

The Globe flutters through this as if it is news, breathlessly quoting a Duke employee who’s also shocked:

“I spoke to him while he was here,” said one Duke employee, “and I got the strong impression from him that his Harvard speech would be a different presentation. Oh, well, at least Duke got it first.”

So wait, this Duke employee went up to…

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April 14, 2012, 7:11 am

Now That’s Some Snark (Canada, Denmark edition)

Canada and Denmark, finding a way to avoid war:

The National Post has learned that Canada and Denmark are apparently this close to hammering out a deal over Hans Island, the vitally important strategic chokepoint that has kept these two warrior nations on the brink of mutual annihilation for the last eight years. With a little luck and perhaps some Annan-style shuttle diplomacy, our long national nightmare might soon be over.

The plan is brilliant for its simplicity. There will be no exchange of atomic energy monitors, no prisoner swaps, and no gradual pullbacks to the positions the countries held on the first day of the costly conflict. Neither side will have to disarm its military forces or surrender commanders for war crimes trials. Instead, the deal under discussion between Ottawa and Copenhagen would take Hans Island, a rock roughly a square kilometre in size and — get this —…

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March 28, 2012, 7:59 pm

Bring back the Muppet Show.

The Muppets provided joy from start to finish. I knew we were in good hands from the first big musical number – part of which is above – “Life’s a Happy Song.” It gets a full, MGM-musical style choreographical treatment. It states the movie’s major theme (it will be reprised in the finale). And it also sets up the story’s major problems – Walter needs to reach Muppethood, Gary needs to reach manhood. It’s a nice piece of writing work. And the lines, “Life’s a fillet of fish … Yes, it is” still make me laugh.

Most of all, though, the movie suggested to me that the Muppets would serve us best by returning to variety television; the movie made me want to watch new episodes of The Muppet Show and made me confident it could succeed. Jack Black and Zach Gallifianakis would be great guests, as would Jason Segel and Amy Adams. The existence of Funny…

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March 18, 2012, 8:25 am

Mmmm…Rotting Meat

Titan arum1webA titan arum or “corpse plant” is about to bloom in a Cornell University green house:

[The] bloom…has been recorded only 140 times in cultivation, and perhaps that’s for the best, as the plant smells like rotting meat when in bloom. The strong odor and deep purple color of the inner leaf attracts carrion flies for pollination in its native rainforests on the island of Sumatra.

The plant has reached 66 inches in height as of Saturday, 3/17, and might bloom today. Live video can be seen here.

December 3, 2011, 2:30 pm

Marie Antoinette, Pick Up The Courtesy Phone

Life among the 1%:

Mr. Lolli-Ghetti has one of the world’s most expensive parking spaces, a costly talking point in a city where residents spend dearly to shelter their cars. His three-bedroom apartment at 200 11th Avenue — now on the market for $7 million — includes a 300-square-foot “en suite sky garage” that would be valued at more than $800,000 if priced at the same rate per square foot as the rest of the apartment…“Obviously, when you have a nice car, at least now you know you’re the only one touching it — it’s safe,” Mr. Lolli-Ghetti said. “I don’t think it needs views like this, but it does need heating and it wants to be inside.”

Don’t we all.

October 8, 2010, 11:48 am

Seedbed of the twentieth century.

John Quiggin at Crooked Timber (among others) notes that Germany has finally acquitted its obligations under the Versailles treaty. Which makes one wonder, what was the greatest of the many errors at Versailles? I could write a post on this, as I have an opinion, but perhaps you would like to tell us, instead.