Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson's Role in Sports History

How Michael Jackson helped launch the New England Patriots football dynasty.

Bollywood's Jews


Dispatches From an Alternate Universe

Todd Gitlin proposes a merger of the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and the Bernie Madoff Leadership Institute.

Peak Oil Advice Columnist

American Prospect profiles peak oil advice columnist Kathy McMahon:

In May 2006, shortly after her peak oil "awakening," McMahon started Peak Oil Blues, a "Dear Abby"–like online column about waning fossils fuels, in part to deal with her own growing unease over the scarcity of oil. "My world was dramatically changed when I learned about peak oil," McMahon's introductory post reads. "The more I looked around, the more things I realized would go, like plastics or kiwi fruit."

Coming to terms with peak oil can have that effect on people -- but it's an opportunity as well a crisis. Join the transition movement party!

"Christian Values"

Seems like an appropriate time to revisit this 2002 Mark Sanford campaign ad.


NPR Politcal Junkie Ken Rudin ranks Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons below constitutionally ineligible Arnold Schwarzenegger in a ranking of GOP governors' likelihood of reaching the White House.


The bad blood between Democrats and Republicans in our nation's capital is nothing compared to the hostility between softball and kickball enthusiasts.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iambic All Over

Great letter to the NY Times Book Review, reminiscent of the learned smack-downs in the highbrow (London) Times Literary Supplement.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Powell's Announces "Six-Word Memoir" Contest Winners

"Laughed all the way... bank's closed."

"Turned lemons into lemonade. Added vodka."

"After cancer, I became a semi-colon."

"I gave her the wrong flowers."

"Wanted love. Got lust. I'm screwed."

See here for background.

Your Regime Is In Real Trouble When You Start Fucking With Soccer

Iranian regime "retires" soccer players on national team caught wearing green wristbands, a decision that will surely further endear the hardline mullahs to young Iranians. "The gesture acutely embarrassed Iranian officials. The team's chief administrative officer, Mansour Pourhiedari, initially claimed the wristbands had been intended as a religious tribute to a revered Shia figure in the hope that it would deliver a victory on the pitch." I guess they didn't buy the St. Patrick's Day excuse, either. The least of their crimes, certainly, but what a bunch of PR hacks: "Iran's hardline media have since linked the protest to the arrest on Saturday of Mohsen Safayi Farahani, who headed the country's football governing body under the former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami. He is one of several dozen opposition politicians, intellectuals and journalists to have been detained." Next to be detained: sick grandmothers and cute puppies. Stupid!

Nissan To Start Mass-Producing Affordable Electric Cars in 2012


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates

"Economist Leeson leads readers though a surprisingly entertaining crash course in economics in this study of high seas piracy at the turn of the 18th century. Far from being the bloodthirsty fiends portrayed in popular culture, pirates created a harmonious social order; through the application of rational choice theory, the author explains how a common pursuit of individual self-interest led pirates to create self-regulating, democratic societies aboard their ships, complete with checks and balances, more than half a century before the American and French revolutions brought such models to state-level governance. Understanding the profit motive that guided pirates' actions reveals why pirates so cruelly tortured the crews of ships that resisted boarding, yet treated those who surrendered readily with the utmost respect. Both practices worked to minimize costs to the pirate crew by discouraging resistance that could lead to loss of life and limb for pirates and damage to either the pirates' ship or the cargo aboard. Illustrated with salty tales of pirates both famous and infamous, the book rarely bogs down even when explaining intricate economic concepts, making it a great introduction to both pirate history and economic theory." Book rec of the day.