Saturday, July 31, 2010

Evil Fridge


Has anyone of y'all had this problem:

Food keeps spoiling in my fridge. Seemingly everything in our new (MIL's) fridge gets moldy within 4-5 days - if not sooner.

???

I'm assuming it's not cold enough, though I turned the setting as *cold* as possible. July here has been incredibly hot and there's no AC up in the kitchen so I kind of attributed it to the heat wave.

But it's been cooler this past week and our refrigerated food still has seemingly no shelf life. It's brutal because now I'm afraid to buy inorganic meat, fruit, and vegetables for more than a couple of days.

My wife asserts that the fridge at twenty years is done. I find that hard to believe. I always assumed they lasted longer.

I've googled this issue and come up with nothing so far. One dude said to bring in a technician first as there may be some condensation or something that's frozen and blocking something. I have absolutely no clue.

One question for you science-types - does mold grow like a weed? In other words, if I've had mold in say one hunk of cheese in my fridge....does that make it more likely for mold to grow on other food even once the cheese is discarded?

If that's the case I figure I should maybe to a full-scale cleaning and disinfecting of the entire interior. That I haven't done yet.

Any help would be greatly appreciated before my wife buys a new $5,000 refrigerator!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hot Or Not?


Yeah, those are actually Harvard broads.

I guess after you ace the SAT....you can take real license with otherwise well-defined adjectives like *hot*.

The Punishment Sheathes The Crime!


This is one *feisty* self-defense product.

And beyond the Third World, I expect it to find a market in places like Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A Rare Good Flick?

Though I hadn't even heard of it until a few minutes ago, people are saying this one is really good:



I may actually go out and see it at the theater. I honestly can't remember the last time I felt compelled to see a motion picture before it hit cable/DVD...

Brokeback? Nah. I got that one bootlegged *before* it was released!

Evaporating Egg Roll Demand



The guy writes on his blog:
UPDATE: The situation is even worse than imagined. It is a worst case scenario. At the park again on Wednesday night, I walked the perimeter and witnessed a guesstimate of 60 rats in the park running, playing, eating, hanging out, all above ground, without any concern. I have never seen anything like it in New York City, in such a public place.
You know it's funny because just yesterday I was altercating with a *mom* a the town pool. She was insisting that Philadelphia was a dirtier, more rodent-infested city than NYC.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shocker! - Media Inverting The Evidence-Hypothesis Sequence


A homeschooler in my new *group* just posted this to the forum:


I just wanted to let everyone know that I have been approached by a newspaper writer asking for information on homeschooling to be issued on MSNBC. She is obviously going through the yahoo groups looking for the moderators.

She is looking for homeschoolers who have basically given up on the educating of their children and have put them back in public school.

She wants to write the article stating "how hard it is for them to make the
transition back into the public schools" and "how it was hard for you and what
they went through to go back"

Although she says it will done in a fair way... I would be wary of being any
part of it. MSNBC has a very outward disdain of homeschooling and thinks it
should be outlawed.

You know, the thing is....these effete thugs are waaaaay too late on homeschooling. They needed to nip it in the bud back in the 80s.  (BTW, *religious* people paved the way legislatively for everyone else, pagans or whoever, to educate their own.)

Of course, they are thoroughly incompetent!

Homeschooling is NOT EASY. But what in life really worth doing IS?

And it's definitely not going to be easy for all lazy, closed-minded parents, themselves the products of Big Education, to tough it out.

Bussed to Boredom


For years now my son, the 5.70 year old Prince, had pined to ride a school bus.

And why not? It looks fun with all the kids on it. There are songs about buses. It is a widely glorified vehicle - even by parents!

I can't tell you how many times I flat-out ignored the wail, "Dad, I really want to go on a school bus." - after all, we have long since decided to *homeschool* him all the way.

But help for me arrived in the form of summer camp. After weeding through almost the limitless options of for his summer recreation we decided upon the cheapest AND most convenient. We enrolled him in the local government school's summer camp. It's four hours - 9am to 12pm, costs only $525 for the month (thanks to unwitting taxpayers!), AND here's the clincher....included in that was free bus service to and from. He gets picked up right in front and dropped off right at the end of our driveway!

How are you going to beat that? Even if he skipped half of camp we'd be getting our money's worth.

Anyways, it turns out we were the first bus stop on the way in and the last on on the way home.

So I send him off at 8:15am and he doesn't get back until 12:45pm. That's a solid 1.5 hours of time on the bus (and 1.5 hours of extra parental relief!). Recall how much he wanted to ride on a school bus.

Before the first week he was just drowning in anticipation...

We asked him how much fun the bus was when he got home that first day. "Kinda long," was his chilly response.

Hah! My wife and I were delighted, thinking, "Well, that takes care of the bus fetish!"

But how brutal is that though - two daily 45 minute bus rides to a school that's only 7 minutes away?! Welcome to the human time-wasting tragedy that is the *school system*...

After a couple days of giggling, my wife and I decided to medicate the situation.

We started packing a book each day with him for the ride(s). So instead of coming home bored out of his mind....he comes home on about page 80 or so of one of his books!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hope - A Get-Poor-Slowly Scheme


I was going through my *junk* recently and came across my tiny baseball/basketball card collection.

I never had much that was valuable, not being so into it, but I have always remembered that my David Robinson Rookie cards were worth something. I had thought they were worth $18 or so apiece. In fact, I had thought they were worth that right off the bat, twenty years ago when they first came out - or close to that time anyway.

So how much are they worth today?

Well, look above. $6 on Amazon!  What happened to my *investment*!?!?!?

This is what happens to a market when everyone piles in.

Baseball cards and whatnot were only valuable because NO ONE preserved/invested in them 50-70 years ago.

Sure, there's still some money to be made by savvy professionals who know how to procure autographs, flip collectibles, and whatnot.

But the passive profits from simply putting store-bought cards in plastic are over - and they've been over for 20-30 years.

The same goes for passive stock market investing.

The lumpen masses are lazy and prone to the propaganda of cherry-picked or *historical* stock returns.

I just read a nauseating post from some chick - a millionaire mommy - who thinks it prudent to assume a 10% ANNUALLY COMPOUNDED rate-of-return when making investments.

And the sad thing is....people really do want to believe her.

There's another side benefit to this no-work, no thought get-rich-slowly scheme.

That is, since one's financial outcome depends on outside factors....when things don't pan out they can simply blame their favorite bogeymen: socialists, capitalists, rich people, poor people, homeschoolers(!), et al.

Go ahead and ask anyone today what they are doing with or think about their investments.  I guarantee you that 95% of them will, in some way or another, simply convey *hope* as their current strategy.  With all that professional, licensed-and-certified advice....that's essentially the only thing being brokered.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cheaper Online!


1.5 years ago, during my term as the youngest snowbird in Florida....I came across and sang the praises of Chocolate Lucky Charms.

But then I couldn't find them anywhere since. And I rightfully should have included them on that list of discontinued products that I bemoaned.

A couple of weeks ago I even Googled "chocolate lucky charms discontinued" only to find that they were in fact available online. And just the other day I actually put them in my *order later* basket on Amazon. I could peel through six boxes of that in no time!

But late last night, while doing the grocery shopping I was delighted to see them in my local supermarket. Three boxes went right in my cart - and I would have grabbed more if I hadn't just learned of their availability online.

They cost $4.69 a box.

Hmmmm....Doing the math on Amazon's price I now realize that I can actually buy (and get them delivered for free!) cheaper on the internet - approximately $4.28 a box.

Guess what, coincidentally, my wife just ordered a bunch of *pharmacy stuff* from Amazon and DrugStore.com this week - all of which was cheaper, free shipping yet again, than what we'd pay locally.

And I can't even tell y'all what a hassle it is to run these errands in traffic-plagued New York and hit these brutal stores. We've probably ordered as much from Amazon in the past 1.5 months since we moved to NY as we have cumulatively before.


Ordering online is the wave of the future. Ride it!

Homeschool Golf?


The First Tee Program is some subsidized/charitable initiative to get more kids (underprivileged?) playing golf.  I had mistakenly thought it was Tiger Woods' *baby* (no jokes!), but I think it has a wider corporate backing.

Anyways, someone who works for the program told me that he sees LOTS of homeschoolers in attendance.  And, surprisingly, well represented among that group are more than a few wealth African-American kids.  Who knew that demographic homeschooled?  Again, one would be hard-pressed to generalize the outliers who've undertaken the responsibility to educate their own.

It looks like there's a chapter of First Tee nearby me now at Eisenhower Golf Course - a decent track that the Seniors have actually played tournaments at.  As a serious golfer myself, the thought of paying someone to teach my kids how to play is not even a remote possibility.

HOWEVER, if my brood can get some good, elusive interaction with other homeschoolers I'll have to reconsider my hard stance.

Half A Million Hits!


Sometime this morning Marginalizing Morons recorded its 500,000 hit!

Though since my traffic slowed considerably this spring, before returning recently, I'm nowhere near on pace to reach my aggressive goal of 1,000,000 hits before year-end.

But by no means have I quit trying to take this blog to the next level....In fact just last week I spent some $$$ on some professional blogging *advise*.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Brave, Transcendental Valedictorian


It's not easy to reject a system that bestows laurels on you.  Up until now, while never a valedictorian (my HS was a lot tougher than a government-run one in the Catskills!), I felt like I was the only one on Earth confident and wise enough to reject my own academic pedigree.  But enough about me, read this young lady's brilliant valediction:
There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years . ." 
The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years." "But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?" 
Replied the Master, "When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."

This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn't you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I'm scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, “We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don't do that.” Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt.

H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not

to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. ... Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim ... is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States. (Gatto)

To illustrate this idea, doesn't it perturb you to learn about the idea of “critical thinking.” Is there really such a thing as "uncritically thinking?" To think is to process information in order to form an opinion. But if we are not critical when processing this information, are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth?

This was happening to me, and if it wasn't for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain myself and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is.

And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.

We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren't we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.

The saddest part is that the majority of students don't have the opportunity to reflect as I did. The majority of students are put through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a complacent labor force working in the interests of large corporations and secretive government, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these 18 years. I can't run away to another country with an education system meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are anything we want to be - but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, but only if its roots are given a healthy foundation.

For those of you out there that must continue to sit in desks and yield to the authoritarian ideologies of instructors, do not be disheartened. You still have the opportunity to stand up, ask questions, be critical, and create your own perspective. Demand a setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Demand that you be interested in class. Demand that the excuse, “You have to learn this for the test” is not good enough for you. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly, but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades.

For those of you that work within the system that I am condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. You have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. I know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see your students bored. You cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell you what to teach, how to teach it, and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Our potential is at stake.

For those of you that are now leaving this establishment, I say, do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Do not abandon those that come after you. We are the new future and we are not going to let tradition stand. We will break down the walls of corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America. Once educated properly, we will have the power to do anything, and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept anything at face value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth.

So, here I stand. I am not standing here as valedictorian by myself. I was molded by my environment, by all of my peers who are sitting here watching me. I couldn't have accomplished this without all of you. It was all of you who truly made me the person I am today. It was all of you who were my competition, yet my backbone. In that way, we are all valedictorians.

I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I hope this farewell is more of a "see you later" when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first, let's go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we're smart enough to do so!

Wow, right? Not bad for an 18 year old young lady!

Here's the link.

Did ya'll notice how laced her words were with John Taylor Gatto - the patron saint of homeschoolers???

He, via exhaustive research and analysis PROVED that schools were designed to *dumb us down* AND have in fact succeeded wildly.

With that fact established....the next step in the homeschooling revolution is for someone or some group to really spread the message. Up until now, educating one's own children was for fringe, outside-the-grid types of people. But, mark my words, soon it will go *mainstream*.

Still don't think, no matter what I say or how much evidence I hurl in your direction, that you won't ever be able to teach your kid algebra or physics?

Well fear not, you can hire someone from India to tutor your kid over Skype for probably much less than $10 an hour!

See also all my Gatto posts.

Steamy Summer Scat


Indeed it is a real product - some sort of pad to be inserted in one's briefs; it's supposed to absorb the sound and smell of organic flatulence. Though I'm sure at least half of its purchases will be of the *gag* variety!

Reviews:

It's a great product and does just what it says. Very helpful when you have to travel a bunch. Wish I'd had an extra pack to hand to the guy across the aisle from me on my last trip!! I would also recommend for expectant mothers.
I tried the product because, since I have IBS, I thought it might help on those days when I was gas incontinent. It didn't work at all, even when I tried using multiple patches at once to cover a larger area. Its a good idea, but it doesn't work. Save your money!

I do believe there is a disclaimer on the product. They say it's not guaranteed to be effective on well-marbled men over the age of 55!

Speaking of scat...

It was hot yet again today and I decided to take the kids to the town pool. But when we got there the *big kid* pool was de-populated. I asked a teeny-bopper if they were doing one of those lifeguard breaks or something. "No...someone pooped in the pool. It'll re-open at 5:30."

So we killed a half-hour at the toddler pool. Later on, some *mom* told me that it was actually vomit in the pool that caused the emergency stoppage. I joked that there was probably some truth to making kids wait 20 minutes between eating and swimming. They made us do it, so we are obligated to torture our broods with the same old-wives' mythology!

However later on, another *mom* informed me that it was in fact a floating log, as originally thought, that was the issue.

Only it was found in the *lanes*. Now who swims in the lanes of a town pool?

Yep, that's right, nobody but 'old coots' - though that *mom* giggled that it must have come from a "codger".



Thanks to PrivateCaller for the link to Subtle Butt.

Gifted, Yet Caged


Here's a good metaphorical essay on identifying and nurturing gifted children:

Is It A Cheetah?

Hint - They're mostly all gifted in one way or another!

CaptiousNut Incognito!


Recall I just upgraded my 5.75 year old PC and boy is it nice to be out of the Dark Ages!

Everything is better: the speed at which it turns on and off, the Paint program, MS-Office that's NOT from 2002, etc.

My old PC, with the hard drive 83% filled, was on the fritz and hence didn't respond well to the barrage of updates that continually flew in: Windows, Java, virus software...so I couldn't really install the latest versions of everything, nor did I feel like I needed to.

But now that I'm back up to speed, there's one thing in particular that I'm enjoying - the Google Chrome Browser. It's a vast improvement from the version of Explorer I had been using, IMO. One aspect of it that I just discovered is the *Incognito* option.

When I first saw it, I partially inferred what it was. I could open an *Incognito* browser and it would be disjoint from my extant browser sessions. Right away I successfully opened my other Gmail account in it. You see before I could only be logged into one at a time and it was real annoying. If my wife wanted to come over and check her email I had to log out of not only my Gmail account but also Blogger, my Google Docs, and Google Reader. What a pain in the butt it was.

Then when I got the Droid phone, I'd do all my personal email on the tiny *smartphone* while I had my CaptiousNut account open on the PC. It was ridiculous how I used to forward personal stuff from my phone to my C-Nut account just so I could see it on the computer without logging out of everything!

But apparently the incognito browser does more than just permit simultaneous access to multiple Gmail accounts:
For times when you want to browse in stealth mode, for example, to plan surprises like gifts or birthdays, Google Chrome offers the incognito browsing mode. Here's how the incognito mode works:

  • Webpages that you open and files downloaded while you are incognito aren't recorded in your browsing and download histories.
  • All new cookies are deleted after you close all incognito windows that you've opened.

  • Hmmmm.....let me see.

    ALL browsing history, download history, and cookies are expunged...

    If you believe this were designed for hiding *surprise birthday parties*, then you my friend, are a Moron.

    BTW, there are a whole bunch of other innovations that I am enjoying on updated PC like Sticky Notes, Chess Titans (for my son), the scribble pad, the improved Movie Maker, and no doubt plenty more things I've yet to discover.

    It's kind of exciting to deny yourself all the latest and greatest in some areas because it makes the eventual upgrading all the more fun - like a time-warp into the present.

    Now I'm going back to planning my wife's *surprise birthday party*. Her special day was actually last week, but it's going to take me a full year (of browsing) to plan next year's soirée...

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Ignoring Didn't Work, Now They're Trying Demonization


    I don't follow the *political noise* much - that's why I have more chi than y'all! - but I have heard recently about some goings on.

    It was only a year ago that I wrote - Pathological Partisanship - which highlighted the Boston Globe completely ignoring upstart *Tea Party* activists.

    But apparently now that these activists have gained steam....tactics have changed.

    Now it's all but an official strategy to stigmatize them, well, just as the sign says. E.g. Why is that?

    Consider what Mary Frances Berry, former chairwoman, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said:


    Tainting the tea party movement with the charge of racism is proving to be an effective strategy for Democrats. There is no evidence that tea party adherents are any more racist than other Republicans and, indeed, many other Americans. But getting them to spend their time purging their ranks and having candidates distance themselves should help Democrats win in November. Having one’s opponent rebut charges of racism is far better than discussing joblessness.

    So who is this woman anyway? Check out Google for a visual, Wikipedia for a mental:


    ...she wrote in 1984 that "civil rights laws were not passed to protect the rights of white men and do not apply to them."

    Personally, I think the worst thing any politically-minded group can do is organize and label themselves. In this country we need to ELIMINATE the party system, not just form another mercenary, rational, self-preserving faction.

    I'm curious as to what Rush Limbaugh is saying now about the ascendant Tea Party.  Recall from my previous post - In Favor Of Threesomes - that he was dead-set against anyone trying to work outside of the party that has been exploiting him and his listeners for 20+ years.

    Actually I don't really care at all what he thinks on the matter.  Writing this post wasted waaaaay too much of my time, energy, and chi on contemporary politics!

    For another example of strategic political demonization, see my previous post - Aborting Morons And Thugs.

    FDR's Ghost, Taxing Gold Again


    I believe the story here is not precisely one of a *new tax* but rather one that simply closes an existing loophole. Allow me to explain.

    I know someone who recently sold some precious metals they had been hoarding since the apocalyptic 70s. I believe they received a check for the proceeds AND assurance that the there would be no reporting of the transaction to the IRS. Imagine the ordeal of having to dig up your cost basis on gold or silver bought 30-40 years ago!  And then the ordeal of paying capital gains!

    With gold the arch-enemy of a fiat-printing, self-enthroned Big Government....how long did you expect this info-loophole to last?

    I'd say to still buy the precious metals. After all, you're probably never going to want to convert it back to dollars. It'll be toted to and for exchange in another less-bankrupt country. Or it'll be used to buy food and ammo!

    BTW, this is hardly the first attack by slimy pols on a competitive currency.

    Back in the Depression, FDR demanded that IRS agents be present at the opening of any safety deposit boxes or something:
    "I, as President, do declare that the national emergency still exists; that the continued private hoarding of gold and silver by subjects of the United States poses a grave threat to the peace, equal justice and well-being of the United States; and that appropriate measures must be taken immediately to protect the interests of our people."

    "Therefore, pursuant to the above authority, I hereby proclaim that such gold and silver holdings are prohibited, and that all such coin, bullion or other possession of gold and silver be tendered within fourteen (14) days to agents of the Government of the United States for compensation at the official price, in the legal tender of the Government. All safe-deposit boxes in banks or financial institutions have been sealed pending action in the due course of law." 
    Furthermore, since FDR fathered Big Government, we can still sort of blame him the rank thuggery of slipping gold regulation into *healthcare legislation* today.

    See also - Book Rec - The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes.

    Co-Morons Co-Signing


    Hah!

    As the economy swoons, many relationships are inverting.

    For another example, recall my old post - Do A Credit Check On Your Landlord.

    Actually, changes like children taking care of their aging parents aren't really an inversion as much as a reversion. After all, this was the norm for millennia until Social Security and other entitlements divorced the generations.

    So I actually applaud any and all adult children who sacrifice for those who sacrificed for them - no matter how crazy the 'old coots' are.

    Except I don't consider the extension of credit via loan co-signing to be a wise form of assistance. If someone can't afford to pay cash for a car, they should PROBABLY BE BUYING A CHEAPER CAR. The same goes for housing - RENT CHEAPER.

    People simply need to learn to say "no" to their children, their parents, themselves, and to all the marketing propaganda.

    Statist Thugs Versus Cluttering Hoarders



    In a recent post I mentioned how, as a de-cluttering solution, one might simply  put their junk out on the corner for scavengers, *migrant* workers, and other hoarding 'old coots'...

    But it turns out that grabbing corner trash in front of unionized sanitation workers can potentially land one in a bit of trouble:

    See - Sanitation Thugs Mug Queens Man - Then Steal His Aunt's Car

    Essentially, some guy picked up an unwanted air conditioner from the curb. Witnessed by a sanitation worker, he was given a $2,000 fine, had his car impounded, AND they fined the owner (his 73 year old aunt) of the car $2,000!

    Who says *the Mob* is out of the sanitation business!!!???

    Nobody should ever pity those guys on the back of garbage trucks.

    Many are unionized. They are always grabbing useful trash, e.g. like air conditioners(!), setting them aside, and selling them. And they also make a good deal in cash tips. They do this by accepting toxic and other kinds of trash that they aren't supposed to stuff in the truck; and grateful *customers* take care of them with a wink and some green.

    Better Blogging Chronicles 7 - PageRank


    PageRank is a number that Google assigns to web content to label/measure its *importance*. It's on an integer scale (why not a decimal?) from 0 - 10, with 10 being most important.

    For example, Mike Shedlock, aka Mish, his highly popular blog has a PageRank of "7" at the moment.

    And over here at Marginalizing Morons, we have a PageRank of "4".

    Here are some other's for sites my readers may be familiar with:

    Boing Boing "8"

    Calculated Risk "7"

    Zerohedge.com "6"

    Mises.org "6"

    Ritholtz.com "6"

    WellTrainedMind.com "5"

    Paul Mitchell "5"

    Perry Eidelbus "5"

    Micheal Davey "4"

    Prince C-Nut "1"

    How do I find all those PageRanks?  Well, I used this website - one of many out there.

    Essentially, I think, PageRank measures the authority of a website. And the higher the authority, the higher up in the search rankings one's content will appear. Since more web traffic comes from search than anywhere else, these higher search results should translate into more site visitors.

    So anyone looking to raise their web profile (moi!) should be keenly interested in an elevated PageRank.

    I really don't see why, given the above rankings and my prolific content, that I shouldn't be able to move up to a PageRank of "5". This is now to be one of my immediate goals.

    For a more in-depth discussion of PageRank, read a higher authority like Yaro Starak. (though I'm surprised he's only a "5"!)

    How exactly does one elevate their PageRank?

    Well, I think it pretty much amounts to getting others - ideally with very high PageRanks - to link to Marginalizing Morons. Google will interpret such links as contagious, authoritative acceptance.

    The best case scenario would be for say, Boing Boing - PageRank "8" - to link directly to my blog in one of their posts OR, even better, on their sidebar. But that's not so easy to accomplish.

    Instead, and there's some controversy about the effectiveness of this, I could go on Boing Boing, post a comment, and in the body of the comment embed a link to something I have written on my site. This is an obviously self-promotional practice that I've always hated to indulge in. Usually when I do it the link had to be highly relevant to the discussion at hand.

    Another way to manufacture links to one's site it to volunteer to write guest posts for other people's blogs - but only, obviously, if they allow you to include a link back to your site in the content. I also think that the key is to write posts for sites ranked higher than your own or this doesn't work.

    But that's about all I know about PageRank....I'll talk about it some more, when I learn more.

    Here's something interesting on the subject. From Wikipedia:

    PageRank is a link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page,[1] used by the Google Internet search engine that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of "measuring" its relative importance within the set. The algorithm may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references. The numerical weight that it assigns to any given element E is also called the PageRank of E and denoted by PR(E).

    The name "PageRank" is a trademark of Google, and the PageRank process has been patented (U.S. Patent 6,285,999). However, the patent is assigned to Stanford University and not to Google. Google has exclusive license rights on the patent from Stanford University. The university received 1.8 million shares of Google in exchange for use of the patent; the shares were sold in 2005 for $336 million.
    That was a nice windfall for Stanford there, no?

    See also - Better Blogging Chronicles 6 - Monetization?.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Circle Line Music Cruise Review

    Tickets cost $37.50 if bought online, and $40 if purchased at the booth. This particular music cruise - a Billy Joel tribute band - sold out last week. As you'll see it was jammed:



    It suffices to say that it wasn't exactly what we expected. It was packed and there was nowhere to sit down on the deck for the 2 hour ride. But it was what it was - more like a CancĂșn booze cruise except for the spectacular Manhattan views.

    Leaving at 8pm in mid-July I knew we'd have a picturesque summer night, catching the sunset and whatnot. We saw it all as the boat left Pier 83 on West 42nd Street: the NJ skyline(!), the Hudson, Midtown glimmering in the sunset, the Statue of Liberty, and then, as the city nightlights came on, we scooted around Downtown and just past the Brooklyn Bridge before turning back. It was, as it always is, such a captivating scene that almost everyone on the native New Yorker-laden boat was snapping pics like Japanese tourists!

    Beers were $7 a piece and tickets for them allegedly had to be purchased beforehand. But that turned out to be a myth; cash was also accepted on board.

    Overall I had a great time and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Make sure you catch a good band!

    Here's the website - Circle Line Cruises.

    But Where Are Wives #2 and #3?



    Could someone please tell me:

    WHAT EXACTLY IS THE POINT OF THIS PICTURE???!!!

    A Light Turned On


    Have y'all seen these new(?) *touch* lamps?

    There's no light switch, one simply touches the pole to turn it on. In fact it's a three-way so a few successive touches/taps will deliver increasing light wattage.

    I bought one at Lowe's recently ($54) for our basement/office and mistakenly thought the *touch* switch nothing more than a gimmick.

    But then I realized yesterday that the new switch mechanism was a terrific ergonomic improvement. No longer do we have to bend our wrists under a lampshade, often in the dark(!), fumbling around looking for that traditional turn switch which always seems to be 180 degrees opposite of our initial reach!

    Delighted to see them down to $40 today, I bought two more for our house - another for our homeschooling/work basement and one for my son's room. His sister, Princess C-Nut, was begging for one of her own too, "Dada....but I can't reach my light."

    So I guess it's also especially good for kids.

    But I am thinking that if someone has a pet....that the animal rubbing against the bottom of the pole will most annoyingly activate the touch-switch. In that case, we have now discovered reason #267 to either barbecue the false-idolized critter OR fatten it up and peddle to the local Chinese restaurateur!

    LeDecision


    A couple of quick notes on the Lebron *situation*...

    Recall the best player in the NBA opted to take his considerable talents to Miami and team up with two other headline stars - Dwyane[sic] Wade and Chris Bosh - spurning other teams such as his hometown Cavaliers, the Chicago Bulls, and surprisingly the New York Knicks.

    I very much liked what Michael Jordan said yesterday. It was a most trenchant jab that only he could deliver:

    "There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,'.... In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."
    Bam!!! You just know that was a tough line, a veritable *facial*, that pained Lebron to hear no doubt a hundred times yesterday alone.

    I predict people will actually root against the Miami Heat going forward in much the same manner that non-New Yorkers root against the Yankees for simply out-paying the best free agents, annually. I know I will!

    Now check this out:

    2010-2011 NBA Title Odds:


    Miami Heat: 2 to 1
    Los Angeles Lakers: 4 to 1
    Orlando Magic: 11 to 1
    Boston Celtics: 12 to 1
    Chicago Bulls: 25 to 1
    New York Knicks: 45 to 1
    Cleveland Cavs: 75 to 1


    Miami Heat: Over/Under Regular Season Wins = 66
    Wow! Favored over the two-time defending champ Lakers to win it all? By that margin?

    Of course odds reflect *demand* as much, if not more, than accurate probabilistic outcomes.

    I don't by any means think the Heat a shoe-in for anything.

    First of all, they have no depth. Secondly, they have never played together so chemistry will take time to develop. Third, Lebron, Wade, and Bosh will have to share the ball more than they ever have in their playing careers. I'm right sure Lebron can become even more of a deferring playmaker, but what about the other two? Will Wade shoot the ball as well off kick-outs as he does after taking his normal 14 dribbles? Will Bosh, with his spindly frame, hit the glass relentlessly when the others are jacking it up? We shall see.

    The bull argument, of course, is that Lebron has never had much of a team around him. Ergo he's got more *help*, by far, in just these two guys than he's ever had. If he can win 65+ games with Delonte West, Daniel Gibson, et al....

    But I do want to throw something out there that I haven't heard among the talking heads of the sports world. Guess what, Chris Bosh IS NOT THAT GOOD. By no means is he a $20 million(?), max contract player. He's soft. So I believe the Heat absolutely overpaid him, to the detriment of the overall roster. And I'll throw out an analogy - remember Brian Grant? He was a power forward , a rebounder-type, that landed an eye-popping $86 million contract some ten years ago. How could a uni-dimensional player possibly be worth so much?

    Guess who signed him....Pat Riley, the same guy who just signed Bosh and James!!!

    Side Note - I believe when Larry Bird was drafted by the Celtics his agent and Red Auerbach had some problems negotiating his initial contract. Red argued that only centers and once in a great while point guards were worthy of max-level salaries. He said that *no one can really dominate a game from the corner of the floor*, i.e. a forward.

    And that's all Chris Bosh really is, an outside-shooting type of power forward.

    I personally, and perhaps I'm projecting a bit(!), think Lebron should have gone to the Knicks.

    I think he and Amare Stoudemire would have been very complementary and had instantaneous chemistry. Whatever he would have paid higher in taxes would be offset by a just a slight uptick in his commercial endorsements. Rush Limbaugh's math is wrong on that count - though I am definitely in accord on the overall bane of income taxes.

    I think it was clear that Lebron was if not afraid of, then at least uncomfortable in New York. After all, it's a tough place to live. And, having watched that show a bit, I've realize what Lebron probably well knows - he can't even buy a nice place for $10 million in New York. These guys don't care about the restaurants and *cultural offerings* in Manhattan. No, they'd rather have a phat crib of 10,000 square feet with a pool, grounds big enough for posses and parties, and garages that can accommodate a dozen tricked up rides.

    So I do completely understand Lebron's rational decision to head to Miami. Heck, I just realized that I'll be down there myself, for a few overlapping reasons, this winter!

    Though you watch, altogether this was an unpopular and much-scoffed-at *Decision*....one more serious public relations blunder and Lebron will become a font of schadenfreude a la Tiger Woods.

    He Beat Me To It!



    Personally, I'm not that impressed with the math - as there're limited opportunities in school, work, and beyond for *rapid computation* to be utilized profitably. Heck I competed at the highest levels in national math competitions and I can assure you that even us Olympic mathletes had ZERO need for or advantage in such multiplication and division short-cuts.

    BUT, this next clip, if it's in fact not embellished, really caught my attention as something more widely applicable:



    I watched the informercial this morning for at least ten minutes and the only price I could see was $14.95. I was thinking that he priced his *system* too low AND I figured I'd have to get up and order it just out of pure curiosity.

    Except that on his site the total price was more clearly advertised. $14.95 was only the 2-week trial price, kept longer than that and Brainetics will cost you a cool $149.99. I'm not curious enough for to pay full freight! (I assume it's already on BitTorrent...)

    Anyway, that's a much more deserving price, IMO, for what's advertised and the educational demands of uneducated parents.

    I predict he'll sell 1 million *math and memory systems* and net himself probably $100 million - and that's why I was somewhat miffed to see this mathematical financial genius on my color television early this morning - even if I know well that I could never in good conscience indulge in such rank infomercial hucksterism.

    Of course, to all you parents out there rationalizing the $150 versus the promises of the Brainetics...

    Realize that it is likely designed and geared to merely improving academic performance in a profoundly sub-optimal learning system - the age-segregated, curriculum-bound, reality-divorced, 30-on-1 mind prison known as conventional *school*. We'll see how fast and how excitedly those kids raise their hands when they graduate to working for large corporations!

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Great Neck's Pink Pants!


    Okay, last night I saw this tool at Penn Station just after midnight.

    Now, being the proprietor of a blog called Marginalizing Morons AND having a camera on my person, it was incumbent upon me to snap this pic.  Right?

    I mean, who the bleep would ever buy a pair of pants like that - no less don them in Manhattan on a Friday night?

    As you can see, he sort of smiled as I sized up the shot. But then he must have gotten pissed.

    Our train (home) was announced and I hustled down to board with my wife, a friend of hers, and her husband.

    Ten minutes later, while we're sitting in our seats, this clown walks up out of nowhere and sort of gets in our collective faces, demanding that I erase the picture of him on my camera.

    We all got a hearty laugh out of that?

    But was he serious?

    Apparently.

    We told him to get (fill in the blank) lost.

    He said I needed to take my camera out and erase the picture I took of him.

    At this point, everyone else on the train has turned off their iPods to focus on the spectacle at hand....and is also giggling.

    Pink Pants - Stand up and take your camera out. Show me the picture. You can hold the camera, but you need to delete it.

    Say what? Did this Moron have a death wish or something?

    CaptiousNut - I can hold my own camera?  Gee, thanks.

    CaptiousNut - AND If I stand up it won't be to take out my camera.

    Was this guy some secret ninja or something? Why would he try to provoke us like that? The other guy in our group was only inches away and, he's even more physically imposing than I am!

    But seriously, who in their right goes up all alone and antagonizes bigger dudes, in front of their ladies, late on a Friday, when everyone's got a little booze in their system?

    He could have been, but I don't think he was a martial arts warrior - I think he was just irretrievably stupid.

    Our wives are cracking themselves up, and messing with him themselves.  And at this point, the entire train is abuzz with laughter.

    Pink Pants - What are you going to do with that picture?

    CaptiousNut - I'm going to put in on my blog - I get 10,000 hits a day (slight embellishment!).  I'm also going post it on Break.com.

    The conductor comes by for our tickets.  We ask him to tell the Moron to get lost.

    The conductor pauses, looks at the guy we pointed out... and bursts out laughing, "YOU MEAN THE GUY IN THE PINK PANTS?!"

    By now everyone on the train is rolling and all but peeing in their non-pink pants...

    I reach over and grab my wife's friend's camera.  For theatrical effect, I turn my face towards Pink Pants and then conspicuously glance down at the camera.  Laughter roars through the train car yet again as I raise the camera up and take a couple more snapshots - even going *vertical* for the second one!

    Another conductor comes by, threatens us all with having the cops settle this altercation.

    Sure, bring them on.  We're most certainly allowed to take pictures of whomever we want.  And we're most certainly not in the wrong considering this guy walked the length of the train to find and *menace* us.

    It was announced that the cops would be there at the next stop, at Shea Stadium.

    CaptiousNut - I'm also going to tag this pic on Facebook.  I'm going make sure every *Great Neck* group sees it...

    (At some point the weirdo revealed that he lived in the town of Great Neck.)

    The cops, six of them(!), do get on at Shea and they were quite belligerent to us.  One cop in particular started screaming at me and threatening to pull me off the train.  I responded indignantly:

    CaptiousNut - What?  I can't take pictures of people out in public?

    CrazedCop - Not if it makes them uncomfortable.

    CaptiousNut - Those pink pants were making me uncomfortable!

    The cop was insisting we take out the camera and delete the pictures.

    No bleepin' way, I was thinking.  He had no right to do that.  What, is this the Soviet Union or something?

    The whole thing was getting surreal.  And I didn't particularly like what happened next.  The women in our group took out the second camera to appease the cop and erased the pictures I had taken in the train.

    Ultimately, some guy sitting behind us stood up and volunteered to explain the thing to the cops.  Him they listened to and then they whisked Pink Pants to another car after threatening us, yet again, to let him be - even though he was the freakin' antagonist!  But as he was being sent elsewhere, he was still pleading his case:

    Pink Pants - (to the cops)...but one of them asked me where I was from...it was a conspiracy against me...


    A *conspiracy*!!!

    The train car was a bit of a madhouse at that moment because the Dave Matthews concert (at Shea) had just let out and there were teenagers galore pouring in simultaneous to the police's arrival.

    With Pink Pants and the *law* gone, everyone in the train-car starting laughing and rehashing their favorite moments - except for one killjoy.

    I hadn't seen him at all until he started cursing at my party.  He was calling us a$$holes and whatnot.  We were all taken aback.

    What in the world is going on here?  My wife's friend starts firing back at him, whoever he is.

    Apparently he just boarded after the concert and based upon 30 seconds of second-hand observation came down on the side of some random guy wearing pink pants.

    For the second time that night that train ride I'm overwrought with disbelief.  This guy child was all of 135 pounds, soaking wet with a stone in his pocket!  He was definitely trying his very best to get his teeth kicked in  He called my wife's friend a "B" and a "C".  Again, her 6-foot+ husband is RIGHT THERE, only 5 feet away from the weakling. Any minute I expected him to explode.  Personally, had my wife been spoken to like that, by a guy of his stature, I'd have reacted in a most un-Christian, physical manner - real fast to boot.  (Of course if he was big,...I would have shushed my wife right fast!)

    So the entire train is captivated yet again by another confrontational, jaw-dropping Moron.

    I stand up if only to mercifully urge the fool to shut up and think for a second...and this twerp suggests that I *may get smacked*.

    "How exactly would that happen?", I inquired.  Did he have a step-stool hidden in his pocket or something?

    Thirty seconds later, this angry pissant got up, cursed the whole train, and ran off to another car!

    Mrs. C-Nut - What was his problem?  Did the concert stink or something?

    Now what are the odds of coming across two outrageously Moronic people in a row like that?

    It reminded me of this great Seinfeld Clip - Lord of the Idiots....A new contender has emerged.  Make sure you visit this link.

    Maybe 15 minutes later, as the train stopped at Great Neck Station....I had my camera locked and loaded and was hoping to flash Pink Pants as he de-trained.  Alas, the conductor was too slow to move and I missed him.

    It shouldn't be too hard to get that pic circulating among his classmates on Facebook...

    After I take care of that I'm going to have to deal with my ego; it just doesn't know how to process the fact that Tinkerbell and Tweety Bird just about tried to fight me!

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Halogen Headlight Fluid!



    That one reminds me of something my wife did 7 years ago.

    She called up a Philly-area band, "Hi, your my favorite group. Could you perform at my wedding up in Nassau County on Long Island?"

    BandGuy - Sure.

    Future-Mrs. C-Nut - How much would that cost?

    BandGuy - (Hmmm....the richest county in America....some chick whose dad is going to pay.) Yeah, that'll be 10 grand.

    Obviously, we didn't end up hiring that band. Instead we went with locals for something like $3,700 - if I remember correctly.

    Riding John Daly's Erraticism


    Look at that .

    Apparently Marginalizing Morons is hosting the top image search result for "John Daly".

    That explains all the hits my blog is getting today - given that he shot 6-under and led the British Open this morning.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    NYC Real Estate Stubbornness

    This young lady did a *trade-up* in Manhattan. She listed her triplex in Gramercy and bought a penthouse somewhere else in the City.

    Only she never did get rid of the first place!

    In the video, note her conspicuous dumbness.



    I feel like putting it down in the sevens is completely DEVALUING the apartment...

    Of course it's actually the *market* that's devaluing the apartment.

    It's hard to believe that this Moron lives (for now) in a penthouse apartment.

    People thought Florida was devastated when its housing prices dropped 60-70%...

    But just wait until NYC prices are down a mere 25%, on their way to at least a 40% peak-to-trough decline.

    All Too Real For Us Thirtysomethings!

    Raising Prices In A Declining Market



    The above house in Hingham, Massachusetts recently was put up for sale.

    I got a nice laugh out of that MLS *alert*.

    You see, 3 years ago, after languishing unsold for 2+ years, my wife and I gave that suffering speculator his FIRST bid. We bid 700k when it was listed at around 815k. He scoffed at us, countering at 810k.

    8 months later, he did in fact unload the house at $767,500 - though I heard from the broker that the sale price included a *large incentive*. In other words, he kicked back a chunk of change to the buyer so they could manipulate the *% down* on their mortgage application. Thus the house probably sold for, net, a number a lot closer to our 700k bid.

    Now I know this house inside and out. It's a McMansion not only in a *bad neighborhood*, but also RIGHT ON THE TRAIN TRACKS. The train literally zooms by, a few hundred feet away, at something like 80 mph (I estimate). Furthermore, though the house is large, probably 5,000 square feet including the basement and usable attic, it still only has 3 dedicated bedrooms. Another major demerit for this place is that it has *propane heat* - which is only a half a notch better than budget-crippling electric heat. Who in their right mind wants to heat a 5,000 square foot house with propane?

    Don't get me wrong, the house has some nice, modern attributes. Otherwise, we'd never have bid 700k for the place.

    So two years after buying the abode at say, roughly, 725k, the current owners want out. Guess what, they listed it at a counter-logical $879,000!!!

    The only things they could have possible done since we vetted the house are: finish the almost-finished attic, finish the almost-finished basement, and carpet the master bedroom. And there's no way that could have cost more than 50 grand altogether - never mind that it, like all home improvements, doesn't add a 100% ROI to the value of the house. Where exactly do they get off thinking that a house, ON THE TRAIN TRACKS, that only had two bids on over the course of 3 years....HAS GONE UP IN VALUE by 100 grand between 2007-2009 when the rest of the national housing market has been plummeting?

    I say good luck to them!

    Recall that we bid on two different homes in Hingham three years ago. Both of them sold about a year after our insulting lowball bids were rebuffed. And BOTH OF THEM hit the open market again in the past few months. The other one was about to be sold but then the (new) owner decided to rent it out.

    Why, if I may ask, do people buy homes and (try to) sell them only two years later?

    I presume the explanation is usually *job-related*; though the rental above came about because of a *divorce*; and I've read that *medical issues* are also a leading factor for distressed real estate situations.

    See also - Real Estate Autopsy.

    Big Science Fraud - Human Genome


    A Decade Later, Gene Map Yields Few New Cures
    Ten years after President Bill Clinton announced that the first draft of the human genome was complete, medicine has yet to see any large part of the promised benefits.

    For biologists, the genome has yielded one insightful surprise after another. But the primary goal of the $3 billion Human Genome Project — to ferret out the genetic roots of common diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s and then generate treatments — remains largely elusive. Indeed, after 10 years of effort, geneticists are almost back to square one in knowing where to look for the roots of common disease.

    One sign of the genome’s limited use for medicine so far was a recent test of genetic predictions for heart disease. A medical team led by Nina P. Paynter of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston collected 101 genetic variants that had been statistically linked to heart disease in various genome-scanning studies. But the variants turned out to have no value in forecasting disease among 19,000 women who had been followed for 12 years.

    The old-fashioned method of taking a family history was a better guide, Dr. Paynter reported this February in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

    In announcing on June 26, 2000, that the first draft of the human genome had been achieved, Mr. Clinton said it would "revolutionize the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of most, if not all, human diseases."

    "Genomics is a way to do science, not medicine," said Harold Varmus, president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who in July will become the director of the National Cancer Institute.

    The last decade has brought a flood of discoveries of disease-causing mutations in the human genome. But with most diseases, the findings have explained only a small part of the risk of getting the disease. And many of the genetic variants linked to diseases, some scientists have begun to fear, could be statistical illusions.

    Hah!

    You have to love that line - Genomics is a way to do science, not medicine!

    In other words, it's a stupendous waste of taxpayer money.

    Remember all forms of subsidized research, be they academic, medical, environmental, biotechnical or whatnot, are nothing more than WELFARE FOR NERDS - mostly Boston nerds with ideas so worthless that they could never attract private capital in furtherance of them.

    The image above is of a Nazi scientist using physiognomy/phrenology to study another useless idea that wouldn't be funded by private capital....he was studying the all-important question, "Who was an Aryan?"

    Note that phrenology and physiognomy, while scoffed at today, were at one time *cutting edge science*. They were the *Human Genome Project* of yesteryear!

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Valuation Incompetence


    Nice chair, right?

    Well my MIL has a *Buy It Now* price of $10 on it. So far it's survived not one, not two, but THREE successive yard sales.

    No takers for a yellow-cushioned, solitary chair, I guess. The market has spoken.

    At that point one must figure it's worth south of $10 - perhaps a whopping $3.69 ???

    Around here, if you put it - or anything - on the corner, an undocumented migrant worker (or hoarding 'old coot') will relieve you of it within the hour. So why not take advantage of that free junk removal service?

    And at the other end of the *valuation incompetence* spectrum you have the spoiled 'young coots' like those kids I mentioned before and....my nieces and nephews.

    They *forget* and leave behind laptops, iPods, and cellphones like you wouldn't believe.

    For example, a week ago my nephew left his car in the driveway - which will be here indefinitely - with the doors all unlocked, the GPS up on the windshield, AND his iPod visible right there in the front seat.

    Of course I could have taken those items out of the car and secured them inside.

    BUT I don't believe in *bailouts* or interfering with natural justice!  Perhaps the anonymous migrants who cut the lawn would more highly value his MP3 player?

    It's a shame wealth, entitlements, and Big Education have successfully severed the links between generations.

    Because the Depression-era 'old coots' could teach the kids a thing or two about the *cyclical* nature of the economy.

    And because the 'new coots' could teach the *nappers* and *droolers* about decluttering and the bounty of cheap modern technology.

    Cruise Control Homeschooling


    I've discovered a great new educational website - Time4Learning.com.

    It's interactive and covers a range of subjects.

    Put it this way - and this is best endorsement I can make - my son wakes up in the morning and WANTS to go on the site.

    I haven't scrutinized the content too closely yet, but for me that's almost the whole point.

    I can put him front of it (actually he turns the computer on and logs himself in) and just about forget about him altogether for extended periods of time.

    It's $20 a month EXTREMELY well spent!

    There's a free two-week trial so give it a whirl; it's not just for homeschoolers.

    Well-Paired Morons

    My Daughter - The Lab Rat


    My daughter is at the stage where she's learning the *math facts*. See my previous post.

    From my standpoint, it's a little tedious teaching this fundamental aspect of mathematics.

    It's not 'torturous' by any stretch but it does take some work, repetitive work.

    There are many theories on how to teach the *facts*. I subscribe to none of them in particular but persistent work.

    And I am now experimenting with a different approach than I took with my son anyway. I let my daughter use the calculator to do some of the questions like 8+9, 11+7, etc. - the ones she can't easily do on her fingers.

    My wife was taken aback that I gave the Princess a calculator.

    You watch, it won't matter one bit. We'll circle back to and through the facts so many times they will eventually sink in....so the particular method of introduction will prove wholly unimportant.

    Consider that my daughter has to look at the page, see 8+9 on the page, and then type the numbers in by finding them on the calculator. In other words, she's essentially repeating the fact of 8+9=17 in the process - usually aloud.

    Also consider that in the context of a boring subject for a 4.08 year old, she was very excited to use the calculator - as your kids will be too!

    I'll bet there isn't a single Moronic teacher out there taking this calculator approach.

    (On the literacy front, I'm also experimenting with that Starfall.com site. I'm allowing my daughter, now that the kids have their own computer, to linger on the site for hours. We'll see what sinks in and report on it. Anything to lighten my load!)

    Infestation Lingering...


    Princess - Dad,...How do you do 'rat'???

    That was my daughter asking me how to do yoga pose 'mouse' from her Yoga Kids kit.

    Obviously she still can't read. But why would she ever have that word on the tip of her tongue?

    Summertime Pic Levity






















    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    The Ever-Vacuous Greg Mankiw


    My old pal Greg Mankiw did essentially a cut-and-paste from Wikipedia and the New York Times published is as a *column*. See - The Trilemma of International Finance.

    *Nothing*, in some circles, is apparently still a clever thing to say (Will Durant)...

    Be Different


    Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I came across that nifty quote yesterday and liked it so much I thought I'd share.

    Too many people today are petrified to do their own thing - when in fact that should be their explicit goal.