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Batman Flies Through Cave April 21, 2013

Posted by Retired Geezer in Gardening, Religion.
6 comments

Speechless.

Presented Without Comment… April 20, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
7 comments

…nor any sense of taste or decorum:

Eel Shoved Up Man’s **** Eats Its Way Through His Intestines

It’s a couple of weeks old. You can click through to the Chinese article that has x-rays and everything.

Another Generous Fashion Tip for the Wimmens April 20, 2013

Posted by geoff in Fashion, News.
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As part of my selfless ongoing outreach effort, I like to offer fashion tips and hints for the gentler half. I don’t have any particular qualifications for providing this service, other than a pure heart and a profound appreciation for the female form, but I think you’ll find my selections both inspired and practical.

In this installment, I offer this subtly patterned dress by designer Nili Lotan.

karolina20n-2

This dress was apparently supposed to be an anti-war statement, but I say truth is in the eye of the beholder.

A Quick Question for Gun Control Proponents April 19, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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Let’s say the Manchin-Toomey bill had passed and actually become law. And then the next mass-murder happens, because there’s nothing in the bill that would prevent it.

What sort of legislation were you going to be asking for when that next tragedy occurred?

A Little Break From the Big News Stories April 19, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
3 comments

What happens when you wring out a washcloth in zero-g?

Is This Something? April 19, 2013

Posted by Sobek in News.
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While parts of Texas are burning and exploding, maybe I could mention this isn’t the first time parts of Texas have burned and exploded in mid-April.

What on earth is going on this week?

The Mercies of Timing April 16, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
4 comments

I rendezvoused with the Sobeks last Saturday at the Boston Marathon registration. It was a decent day, so after the Missus finished registering and modeling her souvenir running shirt (I probably shouldn’t have made her try on so many sizes, but hey  – I’m advancing in years and my pleasures are all too few), we embarked on a walking tour of the city.

You can see our route on the map: we strolled along the boutiques of Newbury St., cut through the Boston Commons (encountering a very rare Tea Party rally along the way), waved at the Theater District, cruised through Faneuil Hall, and had lunch at an Italian restaurant in the North End. With 2.6 miles behind us we parted ways at the subway station, with the Sobeks heading back to the Marathon doings and me back to work.

After such a pleasant day, it’s sad to have the memory marred by the subsequent tragedy at the Marathon, and it’s more than a little creepy to have have walked within a block of the bomb sites even two days earlier. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to actually have been there that day. I hope that in the coming days Sobek has a chance to tell us.

Fortunately Mrs. Sobek ran like the wind on Monday, finishing in 3:37 –  more than a half hour before the explosions. And her husband, who had been standing near one of the bomb sites a bit earlier, had moved up a couple of blocks for a better view. The Andy’s were there as well, of course, and fortunately Mrs. Andy still had an hour to the finish line when the bombs went off. To which I say, praise be there are so many minutes in a marathon, so that none of them was in the wrong place at the wrong minute.

But the mercies of the timing and the non-specificity of the attack don’t change the fact that the scum who did this tried to murder both ladies and their husbands. They tried very hard to kill them, and only chance/providence spared their lives.

That makes this evil act very personal for me. And, I assume, for all of you as well.

Boston Trek

Just touring with the Sobeks, minding my own business, when a Tea Party broke out.

Uncomfortably Numb April 14, 2013

Posted by Michael in News.
9 comments

Geoff’s post immediately below is chilling. It demonstrates the difficulty of returning to even a 50% labor force participation rate — as he puts it, the break-even point of bread earners and bread eaters. Geoff says that at the current rate it could take eleven years to get there.

I doubt it. We may not get there for decades, or ever. There are structural issues involved independent of the recent recession, which mean that my children will grow up in a very different world than the one I was born into.

Here’s my short list of the headwinds retarding the prospects for the next generation or two, stuff that we can all read about every day:

1. The aging and retirement of the baby boomers, an infertile crew who failed to breed with sufficient enthusiasm to replace themselves but were, in their day, dedicated to striving upwards on the economic ladder.

2. The huge productivity gains associated with the impact of the telecom revolution on the economy were comparable to the industrial revolution and have probably mostly been realized, and the dawn of a comparable economic boost from technology is uncertain (maybe the energy sector — cross your fingers),

3. The end of gains in the participation rate due to increased opportunities for women, a factor which has now pretty much played itself out.

4. At the higher end of the labor market, a systemically dysfunctional higher education system that produces new entrants that mismatch the market.

5. At the lower end, the transformation of the “safety net” into a hammock, which is a rational alternative to employment for millions who might otherwise strive to move up, but now are content to languish in a comfortabe life of “poverty” (often supplemented by the huge underground economy).

6. The post-Cold War redeployment of resources from unproductive security concerns to productive assets is likely drawing to an end as America’s unchallenged reign as the sole superpower becomes unsustainable.

It’s not all bad. We know that competition from Japan, Western Europe, China, and Russia will decline due to their having committed demographic suicide to a far greater extent than us. The energy sector, and energy indendenence for North America, has huge potential for boosting our economy (and reducing our security needs). The new kids on the block that are likely future heavyweights (e.g., India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia) are losing and will continue to lose their labor cost advantage over time as they develop and compete with us at more advanced levels.

But still. Our kids are going to have a tough row to hoe. What made America unique and especially resilient in the past, our culture of free minds, free markets, and a faith in the sovereignty of God, has taken a severe beating in recent decades.

The Unbridled Fury of the Obama Recovery April 12, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
8 comments

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released that awful jobs report over a week ago, so I thought I’d update my newish chart to see how we’re doing. This chart ignores the traditional unemployment measures because the number of people who have fallen out of the BLS’s statistical coverage makes those numbers meaningless. Rather, I now plot the number of full-time jobs (> 34 hours/week) against the civilian non-institutional population. It basically compares the number of breadwinners to the number of breadeaters.

So here you go:

FullTimeEmpvsCivPopApr2013

Aaaaannnnndddd that’s pretty ugly. But it occurred to me that some may think that I haven’t gone back far enough – after all, the 1990’s could have had lower ratios, right?

FullTimeEmpvsCivPop1990toApr2013

Aaaaannnnndddd not so much. Which brings up an interesting question:

At our current furious rate of recovery, how many years will it take us to get to a ratio of 0.5 (the lowest it had been in the 20 years prior to the Great Recession)?

11.

Taking Punting and Kicking to the Next Level April 12, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

Um, I could do that…

…in Opposite World.

ObamaFail Continues… April 8, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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The BEA put out the import/export report last Friday, which gives us a chance to see if the President has made any headway toward his goal of doubling exports by January 2015. See for yourself:

ExportsRealityvsObamaFeb2013

If only I could laugh through the tears.

Beethoven’s 7th, the Greatest Piece of Music Ever Composed April 7, 2013

Posted by Sobek in Music.
4 comments

In visual format, which is pretty cool.  You can use your eyes to get a better handle on what’s hitting your ears.  Useful, because there’s an awful lot hitting your ears all at once, which is part of what makes it so freakin good.