Saturday, October 17, 2009

King Of Comedy

We went to see comedian DL Hughley at Helium Comedy Club tonight. We both had a wonderful time.

Steve Wilson, who I hadn't heard of, was the opener.

He was fine, although his material dragged a little bit at the end.

Hughley was the master-utterly professional, he had us gasping for breath. He hit the stage hard and did not let up for 60 minutes. Brilliant material, and perfectly delivered.

If you don't know, you better ask somebody

This is J-Money's blog. She is smart, sassy, sexy, and way too cool for school. If you haven't read her yet, you should.


This blew my fragile little mind. AC/DC (the rock band) has been around for a very, very long time, obviously. When I caught on to them, they were already veterans (circa Back In Black, 1980). But they have sold 200 MILLION albums in the US. 200 MILLION. That's almost as many albums as there are people!


More words from the master.

From his novel I am currently rereading, "Friday", some words of wisdom from the late Robert A. Heinlein:

"One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak uncertainty of reason-but one cannot have both."

" 'When I was younger, I thought I could change this world. Now I no longer think so but for emotional reasons I must keep fighting a holding action.' "

" In this case, the trouble with 'the people's right to know' is that it strongly resembles the 'right' of someone to be a concert pianist-but who does not want to practice. "

President Kettle, I'd like to introduce you to the Pot.

George HW Bush, the 41st President of the United States, gave an interview to CBS Radio, on the occasion of a speech at Texas A+M, decrying incivility in politics.

George HW Bush employed Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes.

Pot, I'd like you to meet Kettle. Kettle, this is Pot.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Josh Wilker on William Perry

Josh Wilker, whose book cannot come soon enough, about William "The Refrigerator" Perry.

Josh asks the question, why do we care about the Red Sox?

My answer:

"Well, because I always have. Because when you can’t talk about anything with another male, you can usually talk about that. Because caring about something-anything-makes you a better person. Because it includes everything-money, race, sex, love, hate, equity-that life includes. Because like life, you spend your life studying it, and never entirely understand it. Because something has to matter."

Someday, we'll look back and laugh that this ever happened.

Someday, this will only happen in history books. Obviously, that day has not yet come.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Don't read this if you want to have hope

Via, author Lester Brown's gloomy view of worldwide ecology.

Go Doodling!

Peter DeWolf, one of the most awesomely awesome awesomes that ever awesomed, posted a little ditty of mine own creation on his blog,

He calls them "word doodles", which is a kind of semi-poetical, semi prosical, collage of words. They're not really poetry-there aren't, like, rules, or anything. But Peter is cool, and talented, and funny, and worth your time. Well, he's worth MY time. Your time may be much more valuable than mine.

Just so I can stay out of jail...

If blogging does nothing else, which it often does, it at least is getting me free books.

The fine folks at Thomas Nelson Publishing have a program ( where they will ship you free books in exchange for reviews on your blog and on Amazon.

The FTC has decided that bloggers now have to disclose the commercial relationships they have with advertisers and companies. I don't think this really applies to me, since, well, frankly, they can have half the money I have earned from this blog if they don't like it.

I was going to disclose the fact that I got the book free anyway-I think it's just the right thing to do. It's a small inducement, but it is an inducement-I was going to buy Nick Hornby's book regardless, but I probably wouldn't have bought either of the free books I got (the detective story I reviewed previously, and this new one, "Peanuts in the Pressbox") unless they were, well, free.

So there's yer disclaimer.


"30 for 30" was marvelous last night. "30 for 30" is a documentary series ESPN put together for their 30th anniversary, asking 30 filmmakers to tackle 30 different topics from within the last 30 years. Last night's was about the Baltimore Colts Marching Band, a topic I thought I couldn't care less about, but director Barry Levinson made it really interesting


Interesting piece in the New York Times about Bruce Bartlett, former adviser to Presidents Reagan and Bush, arguing, like every other thinking person, that tax cuts do not end recessions.

This Week In Hopelessness

This American Life this week is about healthcare. In a surprising, and quite entertaining, way, they discuss the past, present, and future of health care-arguing, essentially, that even if health reform passes, it won't work, because no one-patients, providers, or insurance companies-really wants to lower costs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A simple question

Conservatives, and the business community, and certainly the insurance industry, oppose health reform. I think that's pretty safe to say.

I had a thought today. Has there ever been a government intervention in the business world-say, a new tax or a new program or a new treaty-that the business community was resolutely against-decrying the risks and claiming it would ruin them and cost too much and put them out of business-and they were RIGHT?

An astounding statistic

An astounding statistic from conservative David Frum. During the period 2000-2007, American employers spent 25% more on labor. How much of that went to workers? Not a dime. ALL of it went to health care spending.

STILL against health reform?

...And We're Back...

So I went a whole day without blogging. And the Earth appears to be none the worse for wear.


So as the Red Sox postseason begins, the baseball semifinals, better known as the League Championship Serieses, begin this week. Four fairly old school franchises-the hated Yankees, who date back to the founding of the American League in 1901, the Los Angeles/Anaheim/California Angels, who date back to baseball's first expansion beyond 16 teams in 1961, and the Dodgers and Phillies, who predate the Yankees.

All four matchups are pretty tasty, viewing wise, with lots of history and subplots and old friends and new friends and all that. It will be interesting to see if they can outdraw last year's postseason, which I believe was pretty disappointing. TV (FOX and TBS) were rooting for Red Sox/Yankees, I'm sure. That never gets old for them.


Fascinating article in last week's New Yorker ( about financial markets and cycles. It considers a number of market theories involving cycles of various length, some based on mathematical concepts like pi, others based on seemingly random numbers. It seems like a load of poppycock, and goodness knows the financial markets are full of that.

We are pattern matching animals, and we will see patterns where there are none and remember coincidences where they occur and forget them where they don't. There is so much data in the markets that you can overlay all kinds of things onto it-football results, famines, antelope populations, whatever you want.

In a more recent, painful example, the conventional wisdom across the board was "Oh, the Red Sox always beat the Angels in the postseason. Which, in the last several years, had been true-but that means exactly nothing when you get 15 hits in three games. Streaks seem unbreakable until they are broken.

It is interesting how foolish otherwise smart people can be.


I read a couple of books by Canadian SF author Robert L. Sawyer this weekend-"Iterations", a collection of short stories, and "Frameshift", a novel, this weekend. I am distressed, as I usually am, by discovering a new author-why hadn't I heard of him before? I really enjoyed his stuff-lots of good, hard science, and plots that move really fast. His novel was the inspiration for the new show "Flashforward", which I am deeply invested in.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

ALDS Game Three: High N Dry

Which is where the Red Sox are, as a shocking late inning collapse brings baseball to a close in Boston.

Leading 6-4 in the top of the ninth this afternoon, Boston's Lord of the Dance, Jonathan Papelbon, was pecked at, poked, prodded, and finally put away. The Angels scored three runs, Bobby Abreu doubling in one and Vlad Guerrero singling in two to seal our fate, and when the Halos' underwhelming closer, Brian Fuentes, locked it down in the bottom half, for the first time since 2005, Boston is going home after a loss at Fenway to end the season.

The 2009 Red Sox season, at long last, hundreds of posts and thousands of words since I started babbling about it in March, is over.

I can't say I feel as disappointed as one might expect. There's even a secret, mild feeling of relief-caring takes a lot out of you. You can't really be too mad at them-15 hits over three games is not going to win you much of anything in 2009. They got beat by a better nine, and you just have to tip your cap to them.

In the finest Boston tradition, now go beat them durn Yankees!

(In 1983, when the Philadelphia 76ers were well ahead of the Celtics in the Boston Garden in an elimination game in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston fans began chanting "Beat LA! Beat LA!", wishing the Sixers well in the NBA Finals.)

I Don't Want Clever Conversation, I Never Want To Work That Hard

“If Barack Obama were somehow able to end hunger, Republicans would blame him for overpopulation.”

“People can have all the healthcare they want [under the current system], unless they need some.”

-Representative Alan Grayson

Yeah, pretty much.


Even if I do say so myself, this is probably the funniest tweet I have ever sent:

"Bankenfraude(n)- The feeling you get when you find someone else's ATM receipt and feel better because you're not as broke as they are."