Monday, July 30, 2007

Birth - School - Work - Death

I have been tagged by Phantom Kitty and commanded to lay out before you all the essence of my birth, school, work and death - each in one sentence.

Birth: I was born almost 901 years after Robert Guiscard conquered Palermo, and a little over one month after Nixon was re-elected President in a landslide.

School: Archaeologist-cum-international development geographer-cum-Archaeological geographer.

Work: If SAS programming were Ferraris, I would be the Dodi Fayed of the Census Bureau.

Death: "It's no good down here, I can't maneuver!"...Stay on target"..."We're too close!"..."Stay on target"..."Loosen up!"...[here I die in a massive explosion involving lots of Star Wars nerds and other random sci-fi geeks, except for Harry Potter fans - they're just weird.]

I now tag Amy Lee and Porchop.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Cure For What Ails You, Or How to Chill on a Warm Sunday Evening

Chill with Freezola Beverage: Refreshing & Tasty!

1 oz. chilled Limoncello

1 oz. clear rum

1/4 oz. lemon or lime juice

Smear a lemon edge around the top of the glass, and overturn the glass on sugar. In an ice-filled shaker, shake the lime juice, rum, and limoncello. Pour onto said glass with more ice.

Drink. Repeat, if necessary.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


The Window 530 Meters Above Sea Level

At 11:30pm Thursday evening, my neck muscles began to spasm, along with strikes of pain all along my spinal column and shoulders; I couldn't breathe very well. After slowly standing and stretching I began to control the pain somewhat and the spams subsided. I took a hot shower, but was extremely stiff; I coud barely move my head. So I went to the emergency room.

I am not sure what Michael Moore's new movie, SiCKO, says about E.R. visits, but let me illustrate my experience:

* We arrive at 12am. We wait 20 minutes just to register my name and state my condition.

* After about an hour, I see a triage nurse and better explain my condition.

* We wait another hour or two in the waiting room before we are sent back to the E.R.

* A nurse asks me again what's wrong. She doesn't say much other than that the MRI machine only works during the day time hours. She disappear and doesn't come back. We wait for another hour.

* Suddenly, out of nowhere, comes a doctor. An actual M.D. She begins asking me very pointed questions. She is knowledgable, a trait that my primary care doctor certainly does not share. She offers many possibilities of what may have happened, and gives me a slew of strategies of making sure this doesn't happen again: Oxycodone and muscle relaxants are involved. Let me tell you: muscle relaxants are AWESOME.

* It's 5am. At this time, we leave the E.R.

Why did this take so long? Who knows. The wait was unbearable.

I noticed that there were at least three doctors back there. Maybe it's a staffing issue. I can't really fault the staff; they do what they can do.

Anyway, I am whole again. I am changing primary care doctors and will begin going to physical therapy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Fine Art of Chillaxin'

Ed and His Bubble

We went to Gunpowder Falls State Park last Saturday and met up with some friends. It was a truly gorgeous day: no humidity, breezy, sunny, low 80s, and the lazy river made the entire setting pristine (except for a couple of very annoying dogs). Above is Ed making some rather large bubbles. All we did was relax, drank some beers, went tubing down the river and laughed. That is the Fine Art of Chillaxin'...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Note to Self: If we're ever in Gaza, don't let Julieana watch the children's show "Tomorrow's Pioneers"

I think someone ate the brown acid after all.

A "Mickey Mouse-like character named Farfur who spouted anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish nostrums at children"..."was beaten to death by an Israeli who wanted his land on the previous episode of the children’s show “Tomorrow’s Pioneers.” "

Holy crap, that's not educational at all...

Monday, July 16, 2007

China Makes a "W" Sign with the Fingers and Says "Whateva!..."


According to CNN, seven U.S. meat producers have been banned in China after Chinese inspectors found contaminated products, such as chicken. You will remember that the U.S. government has banned certain Chinese imported meat products.

Note to the U.S. government: make sure the companies that rely on your support practice what you preach.

Oh, wait: the mass production of chicken tenders, ground beef, and insert-any-body-parts-inside-an-edible-sleeve-for-consumption-with-ketchup-and-mustard relies on the lackadaisical, laissez-faire attitude of the government. And this hands-off policy certainly leads to much higher levels and more instances of cross-contamination.


Carry on with your hypocritical bad selves...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Capitalism, Or Fun With Commodities!

Scale (Zedero)

In Das Kapital, Marx highlighted what's called the "expanded" form of a particular commodity's value:

z Commodity "A" = u Commodity "B" or = v Commodity "C" or = w Commodity "D" or = g Commodity "E" or = etc.
(20 yards of linen = 1 coat or = 10 lbs tea or = 40 lbs. coffee or = 2 ounces gold or = etc.)

Or, as real estate speculators in New York City now prove, a $225,000 house almost anywhere in the country = a parking space, in Manhattan.

From the article (with my emphasis in bold):

Cynthia Habberstad is at the top of that list. She chose not to buy a spot when they were selling for $165,000, but changed her mind only to learn that all the spaces had been taken...

She and her three children, ages 7, 9 and 11, live on Long Island, but the children’s modeling schedules bring them into the city at least twice a week, and the apartment they bought in the building will be a pied-à-terre.

If we’re coming in late from dinner or we have a lot of stuff in the car, do we really want to have to walk a few blocks to get home?” Ms. Habberstad said. “It all makes sense now that I don’t have it.

If you're that desperate to spend your money and that lazy to walk a few blocks, you had better go see a cardiologist, check your blood pressure, and take yoga. Life is too short to be worrying about shit like this.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Deer in Headlights

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Get the Lead Out

The Future

The Washington Post's Science section had a great article about lead exposure and the statistically significant correlation it has with increased criminal activity. A Fairfax, VA economist now claims that lead abatement and removal starting in the 1960s was the main reason why crime in New York plummeted in the 1990s - not Rudy Giuliani's "Broken Windows" theory of policing crime: arrest street-side window washers, panhandlers, and petty crooks.

It's an elegant argument, and one that it more empirically rigorous than the notion that the legalization of abortion led to decreased crime (why didn't this happen in Britain and other European countries?). It also shows that many urban areas with the most crime suffered twice as much as other areas: lead abatement rarely was conducted (or done so last) in poorer, urban areas, and later the Giuliani "broken window" campaign targeted these residents specifically.

Monday, July 2, 2007

My Brain Hurts

"Synergy" makes Baby Jesus cry.