<$BlogRSDUrl$> No Jared Fogle posts since April 20 No Hooters posts since June 24

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I was feeling unispired recently until this morning when it was reported that the death toll from the tsunami reached over 70,000. This is some serious business. Amazon.com has a button where you can donate directly to the Red Cross and the front page of Yahoo has many other links to organizations where you can donate for disaster relief.

One of the things that is difficult to wrap my mind around is how the tsunami was a not one major wave hitting one area but many huge waves hitting many coastal areas at once. Via Nick Denton here is an animation that really illustrates the reach of the tsunami.

Via Jessie here are some arresting sattelite photos.

More interesting tsunami commentary from around the web:

From Lileks:

I tossed some money to the American Red Cross tonight (Amazon makes it very easy) and did so with a small amount of self-disgust. At least now I know the death toll that gets me to open up the wallet. From now on my guidelines will be “earlier” and “more.” It’s not for the dead we send the money, of course – it’s for those whose lives have been scoured down to the bone, but you can’t help but think that your contribution somehow mitigates the awful numbers. It doesn’t. And if your money makes its way to a small village, and ends up as a box of clean underwear and toothpaste and batteries and aspirin dropped in the lap of a man who watched his entire family scraped off the face of the earth and swallowed by the brutal, implacable and mindless hand of nature, well, know that it probably won’t make much difference. It can’t. But someone has to get him clean underwear and aspirin. You there, with the drawers full of Jockeys and Bayer: cough up.

From Marginal Revolution:

Should you send money to tsunami victims?
Tyler Cowen

Probably yes, but why? After all, the world has had millions of victims of extreme misery for some time now.

What about opportunity cost? Why should you aid these people and not others? I can think of two arguments:

1. Aid is more effective when large numbers of donors coordinate upon addressing a single disaster in a focused manner.

2. Donors are frail in their commitment to altruistic ends. A dramatic headline induces them to give when they would not otherwise be generous. So if you find that images of tsunami victims tug at your heartstrings, give now because you will forget about being kind a week or month from now.

These two hypotheses are not fully distinct. Even if #2 does not describe you, it probably applies to many others. If your donations help make the tsunami victims a more "focal cause" this will induce more giving from altruistically frail others.

But when are these economies of scale exhausted? I doubt if the generated aid will come close to saving all the relevant lives. If these donations do in fact produce increasing returns across a giving network, why are you giving to any other causes?

Is it that donations will stop at the point when saving additional Sri Lankan lives hits a steeply upward-sloping cost curve? (Unlikely.) Or are we so altruistically frail that if we displace our other giving, we will have fewer giving motives on net and thus will give less overall? Can we not sit down and understand our frailty rationally and write one big check, once a year, to the "most efficient cause"? Possibly not.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Out of nowhere today a co-worker came over and gave me a pair of socks in a brown paper bag. I said "Thanks!" and then "What's the occasion?" but he didn't say. They aren't wrapped or anything or in a package. It is just a pair of socks in a bag. I'm appreciative but puzzled.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Thought you might catch me resting on my laurels, huh? Well, FACE!

I'm almost done with Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and I have no idea what I'm going to play after that...Max Payne? Stay tuned.

A couple of years ago I had the idea to rewrite "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel for modern times but the only line I could come up with was "Dot Commers, suicide bombers" so the whole thing kind of never left the garage so to speak. Not so with this gem. Please let me know what you think of the song if you actually listen to the Mp 3.

This site is hilarious. I like the fact that s/he complains that Austin Powers II was full of plot holes and that with all the violence how could the Bradys be living in the 90's like in The Brady Bunch Movie. Has anyone seen Ghost Dad? Is it a dark comedy? Somehow I doubt that.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Twelve days? Oops.

Ok, quite a bit has happenend in the past few days since I brought you the blog below in all its glory. First, the trip to Atlantic City: Heather and I got a ride to A.C. on a packed Greyhound that took an entire hour to get out of Manhattan and during the entire time the driver didn't turn the lights on so I couldn't look at even one article in my Vanity Fair! Not even Dominick Dunne! A horror to be sure. Soon we got on the road and the trip went smoothly all the way to the Showboat casino ("Slots are pumping" ewww) where when we got off the bus they gave us seventeen dollars in cash in an envelope as a promotion. So we promplty went off to use the Greyhound gotten gains at the video poker machines. I promptly won about 30 dollars and finally fell in love with gambling. See, I'd only really played the slots and that was more like "Oh, I lost. Oh, I lost again. Oh, more losing." so the pleasure area of my brain that gets stimulated by winning remained unmoved. Not this time. Heather and I enjoyed a dixie cup full of free beer they offered us but then decided to head to one of the bars in the casino for a Pina Colada.

After this we enjoyed a ride on the Jitney bus to the Tropicana and the exciting Econolodge. I'm pictured here enjoying it in the company of friends: After this we stumbled on one of the three twenty four hour bars in A.C. that aren't in a casino. It seemed to be a casino worker hangout and it was very cheap and the pizza fries were tres magnifique!

The next morning whilst Heather showered I watched rodeo on ESPN 2.

We decided to go get some local Atlantic City flavor and started going off the beaten path to find breakfast. Two things that A.C. has a disproportionate number of are pizza places and pawn shops. There were as many pawns shops in Atlantic City as there are espresso places in Seattle. Everywhere you looked there were signs advertising that they buy gold. If I was in the market for a watch or ugly jewelry I would have been in heaven. Atlantic City is depressed. Very very depressed. As far as I can tell the casinos are the only idustry and it seems that if you are a casino exec you most likely live in Philadelphia or New York and commute. You don't actually live in Atlantic City. We did evenutally find a Mexican restaruant that was pretty good and I checked out the local paper that was mostly Philly centered news but there was a good article about a woman embezzling money from the PTA or something equally as sinister. After this we headed out to Carmine's across from the Tropicana for an adverstised meatball eating contest. I was thinking that this was going to be sort of an amateur event with random people sucking down meatballs. I was wrong. This event was pro all the way and had some of the most famous eaters for pay in the world such as Sonya Thomas, "Bandlands" Booker, and Brooklyn's own "Hungry" Charles Hardy. There was also a cute husband and wife who were both in the competion. I don't know if the came to competitive eating as a couple or they met on the circuit or what but it's cute regardless. Here they are: The husband won second place in the competition and when the prizes were given out the wife yelled "My sweetie pie!" which prompted the guy next to me to say "I wonder how many sweetie pies she could eat!" which would have been funny had he not been such a jackass. Sonya Thomas won the competition by eating over 6 pounds of meatballs which was a pound more than the guy who came in second place. This is even more fascinating/bizarre/nauseating when you figure in that Sonya weighs 116 pounds. They were filming the competition for some cable TV thing and I got interviewed on my thoughts and they asked me what I thought Sonya "brought to the table" (yuk yuk) that the other compeititoirs didn't. I wanted to say a "zen focus" but since Sonya is Asian that seemed like it might be a tad racist so I just said "a focus" which sure sounded bland as hell.

After this we headed off to the Ripley's Believe It Not! museum which was far better than I expected and great if you like scale models of things built of out of matchsticks. There were also many of those kinds of riddles where they show you some shape and say "How many triangles are there in this figure?" and it looks like 27 or something and then when you lift the lid to see the answer it's 376. It's interesting to see a thing on Chinese Foot Binding right next to a fish that someone sewed fur onto as a hoax as if they were on the same "Believe It Or Not!" level. We spent about two hours in the museum and then it was off to the Irish pub for a few drinks with Harry, Amy, and Jennifer who had come down to meet us. We had a few drinks to get ourselves ready for what was to be the main event of the evening: LEGENDS...

The "Legends" that we saw were Tom Jones (ok), Alan Jackson (Really good), Whitney Houston (ummm), Lionel Richie(totally amazing) and Elvis(The Fat Elvis played as comedy). We all ordered strawberry daquiris in these Bally's souvenir glasses to which our server said "Really? You all want the souvenir glasses?" and then she kind of laughed. Anyway, we got the drinks and as far as I can tell were were the only people in the place that had bought them. The only performer really worth talking about was Lionel. While the guy looked, how shall we say, busted, and was so short he had to wear these enormous white platform shoes, he could sing like the dickens. He really had the crowd riled up and people were going crazy for him so it was exciting for everyone. Unfortunately, Lionel replaced the Village People on the show. I think seeing LR and the VP would have really had me sailing away on bliss filled cloud.

Seeing as we hadn't consumed a drink in over half an hour we decided to head over to the Wild West Casino for beers and a little gambling. Harry and I stole away for a bit to try our hand at the wheel of fortune which is the only table game that has a minimum bet of just a dollar. We played for about 45 minutes and then our our last spin Harry hit the 20 dollar bet and we came back not paupers but princes with a load of chips apiece. We could not keep ourselves away from the Wheel after that as we had good luck and it requires no skill which I appreciate.

There were some strange things around A.C. including these rickshaw things were guys had outside the casinos where they would push you to wherever you wanted to go on the strip. This was a little too Master/Slave for me to try out but it sure seemed popular.

Viva Atlantic City.

Friday, December 03, 2004

I was looking for blogs about the television show The O.C. and I ran into my new favorite blog. Here are some excerpts:

Ft. Benning Georgia

Usually around this time of year everybody goes to Ft. Benning Georgia to go protest. We get the usual speel of how along the way these individuals go to various places like MLK's Church, some equal rights museums, looking at pics of great "defenders of freedom." That's stuff great but lets look at the real defenders of Freedom. They never go to museums dedicated to Rangers who were trained at Ft. Benning and later scaled the cliffs of Point Du Hoc on D-Day, the paratroopers who were trained to jump out of airplanes behind enemy lines on D-Day, the thousands of trained infantry men who have given their lives to defend this country,Tributes to soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division who fought up and down the Au Shau valley etc. Those people don't care. They really don't. In short anybody can get on a bus and protest but it takes somebody of a different stature who is able under grenade, rocket, machine gun fire, watching your friends and family slaughtered around you get a grappling hook and scale a 100 ft. plus sea wall to save the free world.

A while back The Reverend Joseph Larkin and myself did similar entries about being a man. Here's is part 2:

The kids and adults I hung out with all during my childhood, highschool, and now college have all been men. My friends didn't take shit from everybody, drank hard, partied hard,listend to hard music and spilled blood for you. The adults all busted their balls and worked hard,spilled blood and sweat for their families, fought in wars, were honorable, taught their sons to be men and taught their daughters to be ladies. All those adults were hellraisers when they were kids. There is a distinct difference to going out on a friday night to raise hell and being a fucking bitch.
Last night I was with my usually boys Ahole, The Colombian (sidenote: the colombian has been chilling the fuckout for the passed few months because he has an amazing lady friend and he is joining the army. So he needs to be ready to go. That is certianly tougher than raising hell so shut the fuck up.), Vinny and Drew. My neighbors Robbie and Nick were there plus we had some ladies over and vinny and drew's bar buddies were there. We were drinking from my keggerator, had jaegerbombs, JD, Bushmill's Irish Whiskey, watching war movies, and just getting out of control. I get this phone call from my ex asking me to come hangout. for some reason which i will not go into detail I did. So I get there and she's having a little kickback. Three girls (including her) and two guys. So she asks me to make a booze run. Of Course I oblige. So I ask the girls what they wanted and I got the usual girl response "Um Malibu and other sweet drinks." No big deal typical girl drinks and then I ask the guys what they wanted and they said the same thing! So I twitched a little bit. So I go to the store and get their bitch drinks and buy a bottle of the beast...
Sidenote: The Beast is not to be confused with Natty light or Milawakee's Best. The Beast is a pint and 6 oz's, has a ferocious animal on it with huge fangs blood red eyes, and has "The Beast" written in blood red letters, and it's 18.1% alcohol for a beer!...
Back to the story... So we get back to her place and I'm watching them drink. I'm watching the girls chase malibu of all drinks with coke! It gets worse gentleman...I'm watching the two guys chase malibu with coke. what a bunch of pussy faggots. I'm sitting here drinking The Beast which is like liquid fire like there is no problem. I'm sitting here listening to some bitch who is 5'3, 120 pounds go on about how cool he is and he is talking about how great stienbeck is (when we're drunk wtf!) and he is using great phrases like "Well stienbeck wants to show how great the boring life is and how extravagent things suck." This is coming from some fucking pussy girl who is wearing 100 dollar jeans, a 80 dollar shirt and 70 dollar shoes. What a metro bitch. He liked to throw out great phrases but he could never back up his point. I wish he was at ahole's because it would have been a beat down gang style. The colombian would have skull fucked him...Hell now that i look back on it i should have thrown the kid out the third floor window. These were the type of guys that would stab u in the back for a piece of ass even though they probably wouldn't have a chance anyway. Later that night I get fed up and leave and head back to my dorm and passed out. Moral of the story is hang out with your buddies who can drink 12 yaeger bombs, and call u up to go do keg stands and party even thoug u are a freshman and they are seniors.

Man story: Even though I wasn't there but Fox, Ahole and the Reverend drank from 7 pm-7 am, told stories, fucked around, listened to country music, and sat on the stoop catching up like brothers and family members. I wish i were there boys. That's all I need to say.

You can either be a man or a bitch. You choose.

There is much more and it is all this brilliant.

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