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Archive for September, 2010

Losers, Inc.

So, you read about the latest lottery winner and think, “You know, I bet I could win. If I played the same numbers every week, surely, I’d win something. And maybe, maybe, I’d win it all. You never know.”

Yes, I do know. You’d lose just like millions of others and you’d be no better off than the guy who goes out in the back yard and buries his quarters in hopes that they’ll germinate and grow into “quarter plants.” In fact, that guy would be better off than you. At least he could go dig up his quarters.

Don’t believe me?

Ok, go and try it at the lottery simulator. It allows you to pick 5 numbers and play them as many times as you like for up to 10 years.

To play the lotto twice a week for ten years would cost you $1040 per year. If you win more than $150 in 10 years, call me.

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Do it, second line

You know, this alone makes going to New Orleans (at least once in your life) a priority. Beautiful.

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The best?

Here’s a billboard that was put up to encourage the citizens of South Bend, Indiana to become familiar with the excellence of the public schools of the South Bend school district:

and, I assume, spelling is not one of the the “15 best things.”

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Surprise!

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Surely you heard about the shocking political event that happened in the State of Delaware this past Tuesday, right? Absolutely horrifying. Christine O’Donnell was elected in the Republican primary as the Republican candidate for the Senate. And the sky is officially falling.

Karl Rove has called O’Donnell “unelectable (one presumes he means, unelectable in everything but a statewide Republican primary), untruthful and nutty,” — which, of course, immediately raised her credibility to great heights in my eyes. And Rove is not the only one who is finding it hard to breathe now.

The New York Times published its story of “‘shock and dismay” over the naivety of the people of Delaware and the dilemma the Republicans now face with Christine and other victorious “Tea Party” candidates. The Times piece recites a list of some of Ms. O’Donnell’s views, clearly intended to cause the rest of us to be filled with a serious case of the midnight tremors over the possibility that she might get into the Senate.

Here are some of Ms. O’Donnell’s “strange” and “extreme” positions: she’s against federal financing for stem cell research; opposed to abortion (even in cases of rape); she thinks evolution is “soft science” and questions the utility of financing AIDS programs. She even went so far as to suggest that “a private-sector free-market approach” is the best way to economic recovery! Yikes!

And on top of all this, Ms. O’Donnell is an avid cook and longs to be married and have children! Good heavens! I mean, she sounds like a veritable terrorist, doesn’t she? Hide the children, Momma, a lady who loves to cook might be elected to the Senate!

Ok. So what happens now? Here’s what: The Republicans will immediately scramble around and try to reposition themselves so that they can campaign endorsing the “Tea Party” values while insisting that, as much as they’re in agreement with these, America needs the experience they bring to the table in order to reach these “commendable goals.” They will get the backing of the national party and try to drown the “Tea Party” novices in a sea of advertising and lies; they’ll be given favorable media coverage, they’ll spread innuendo and slander their opponents in order to blacken their reputations . . . and, if all goes the way its gone in the past, they’ll win most of the remaining state primaries.

If the Republicans have shown anything, it’s that they are true “American” politicians (“American” = the degraded, unprincipled society that enjoys the blessings of our country while arrogantly rebelling against the Creator and seeking to insure that we’ll never see these blessings again). So get ready for it. Delaware Republicans will seek a deal with the Democrats and join them in a slander campaign against Christine O’Donnell. A lady who seems to be sincere and good-hearted (and, far more courageous that the vast majority of the men in our country) is about to get “Sarah Palined” — but, that’s where we are as a culture . . . and I doubt Ms. O’Donnell expects anything other that this sort of treatment.

But maybe this time, I’ll be wrong. Maybe this time, God’s people in Delaware will stand with their sister and defend her and rally to her side when they see the wicked conspiring against her. Maybe? . . . . . maybe?

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This article by Michael Lewis (author of The Blind Side and a number of other books) lays out the roots of Greece’s financial problems and the corruption that caused it and along with the corrupting influence it is having among the people.

The whole thing is pretty interesting but here’s an excerpt that I thought particularly telling:

The Greek state was not just corrupt but also corrupting. Once you saw how it worked you could understand a phenomenon which otherwise made no sense at all: the difficulty Greek people have saying a kind word about one another. Individual Greeks are delightful: funny, warm, smart, and good company. I left two dozen interviews saying to myself, “What great people!” They do not share the sentiment about one another: the hardest thing to do in Greece is to get one Greek to compliment another behind his back. No success of any kind is regarded without suspicion. Everyone is pretty sure everyone is cheating on his taxes, or bribing politicians, or taking bribes, or lying about the value of his real estate. And this total absence of faith in one another is self-reinforcing. The epidemic of lying and cheating and stealing makes any sort of civic life impossible; the collapse of civic life only encourages more lying, cheating, and stealing. Lacking faith in one another, they fall back on themselves and their families.

The structure of the Greek economy is collectivist, but the country, in spirit, is the opposite of a collective. Its real structure is every man for himself. Into this system investors had poured hundreds of billions of dollars. And the credit boom had pushed the country over the edge, into total moral collapse.

Integrity is essential to society. Dishonesty destroys trusts and, consequently, relationships. In the end, the liar is left alone to fend for himself in the midst of a culture consumed by paranoia and suspicion.

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I’m really old

[Here's this year's list of things that have been life-long realities for entering college freshman. To say "I'm old" doesn't come close to describing how this makes me feel]

Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992. For these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks and Tony Perkins have always been dead.

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

2. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.

3. “Go West, Young College Grad” has always implied “and don’t stop until you get to Asia…and learn Chinese along the way.”

4. Al Gore has always been animated.

5. Los Angelenos have always been trying to get along.

6. Buffy has always been meeting her obligations to hunt down Lothos and the other blood-suckers at Hemery High.

7. “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.

8. With increasing numbers of ramps, Braille signs, and handicapped parking spaces, the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities.

9. Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend.

10. Entering college this fall in a country where a quarter of young people under 18 have at least one immigrant parent, they aren’t afraid of immigration…unless it involves “real” aliens from another planet.

11. John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.

12. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.

13. Parents and teachers feared that Beavis and Butt-head might be the voice of a lost generation.

14. Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.

15. Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.

16. Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.

17. Trading Chocolate the Moose for Patti the Platypus helped build their Beanie Baby collection.

18. Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.

19. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

20. DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.

21. Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn.

22. Cross-burning has always been deemed protected speech.

23. Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars.

24. “Cop Killer” by rapper Ice-T has never been available on a recording.

25. Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.

26. Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.

27. Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.

28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.

29. Reggie Jackson has always been enshrined in Cooperstown.

30. “Viewer Discretion” has always been an available warning on TV shows.

31. The first home computer they probably touched was an Apple II or Mac II; they are now in a museum.

32. Czechoslovakia has never existed.

33. Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.

34. “Assisted Living” has always been replacing nursing homes, while Hospice has always offered an alternative to the hospital.

35. Once they got through security, going to the airport has always resembled going to the mall.

36. Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.

37. Whatever their parents may have thought about the year they were born, Queen Elizabeth declared it an “Annus Horribilis.”

38. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

39. Pizza jockeys from Domino’s have never killed themselves to get your pizza there in under 30 minutes.

40. There have always been HIV positive athletes in the Olympics.

41. American companies have always done business in Vietnam.

42. Potato has always ended in an “e” in New Jersey per vice presidential edict.

43. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.

44. The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.

45. They have always had a chance to do community service with local and federal programs to earn money for college.

46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.

47. Children have always been trying to divorce their parents.

48. Someone has always gotten married in space.

49. While they were babbling in strollers, there was already a female Poet Laureate of the United States.

50. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.

51. Food has always been irradiated.

52. There have always been women priests in the Anglican Church.

53. J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn’t he?

54. The historic bridge at Mostar in Bosnia has always been a copy.

55. Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.

56. They may have assumed that parents’ complaints about Black Monday had to do with punk rockers from L.A., not Wall Street.

57. A purple dinosaur has always supplanted Barney Google and Barney Fife.

58. Beethoven has always been a good name for a dog.

59. By the time their folks might have noticed Coca Cola’s new Tab Clear, it was gone.

60. Walmart has never sold handguns over the counter in the lower 48.

61. Presidential appointees have always been required to be more precise about paying their nannies’ withholding tax, or else.

62. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.

63. Their parents’ favorite TV sitcoms have always been showing up as movies.

64. The U.S, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.

65. They first met Michelangelo when he was just a computer virus.

66. Galileo is forgiven and welcome back into the Roman Catholic Church.

67. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always sat on the Supreme Court.

68. They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.

69. It seems the Post Office has always been going broke.

70. The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg has always been rapping.

71. The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing.

72. One way or another, “It’s the economy, stupid” and always has been.

73. Silicone-gel breast implants have always been regulated.

74. They’ve always been able to blast off with the Sci-Fi (SYFY) Channel.

75. Honda has always been a major competitor on Memorial Day at Indianapolis.

[from the Beloit College Mindset List]

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