Monday, March 31, 2008

Don't let the screen door hit you on the way out, March

Chevy Chase:
Last week we made the comment that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Now here to reply is our chief meteorologist, John Belushi, with a seasonal report.

John Belushi:
Thank you Chevy. Well, another winter is almost over and March true to form has come in like a lion, and hopefully will go out like a lamb. At least that's how March works here in the United States.

But did you know that March behaves differently in other countries? In Norway, for example, March comes in like a polar bear and goes out like a walrus. Or, take the case of Honduras where March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a salt marsh harvest mouse.

Let's compare this to the Maldive Islands where March comes in like a wildebeest and goes out like an ant. A tiny, little ant about this big.

[holds thumb and index fingers a small distance apart]

Unlike the Malay Peninsula where March comes in like a worm-eating fernbird and goes out like a worm-eating fernbird. In fact, their whole year is like a worm-eating fernbird.

Or consider the Republic of South Africa where March comes in like a lion and goes out like a different lion. Like one has a mane, and one doesn't have a mane. Or in certain parts of South America where March swims in like a sea otter, and then it slithers out like a giant anaconda.

There you can buy land real cheap, you know. And there's a country where March hops in like a kangaroo, and stays a kangaroo for a while, and then it becomes a slightly smaller kangaroo. Then, then, then for a couple of days it's sort of a cross between a, a frilled lizard and a common house cat.

[Chevy Chase tries to interrupt him]

Wait wait wait wait. Then it changes back into a smaller kangaroo, and then it goes out like a, like a wild dingo. Now, now, and it's not Australia! Now, now, you'd think it would be Australia, but it's not!

[Chevy Chase tries to interrupt him]

Now look, pal! I know a country where March comes in like an emu and goes out like a tapir. And they don't even know what it means! All right? Now listen, there are nine different countries, where March comes in like a frog, and goes out like a golden retriever. But that- that's not the weird part! No, no, the weird part is, is the frog. The frog- The weird part is-

[has seizure and falls off chair]
Link (Thanks to Chuck Welch)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Me too, zombi kid, me too.

This nice lady needed a freezer

for her tiny store in Paraguay. I loaned her a little money ($25), and so did a few other people from the US, Canada, France, and Australia. She got the freezer, improved her income, and paid us all back in no time.

I could do this thanks to the microfinancing website called Kiva, which I heard about in an interview with Bill Clinton (before he turned vicious and sniping, remember? Back when he was all about giving?). You may have heard about microfinancing; it's pretty obvious now that it's been created. Poor people can't afford a big loan -- but if you loan them $25 or $100 or so, they can start a small business and make a little headway, and they're more likely to be able to pay the loan off without being, for all intents and purposes, indentured to their loan.

So Kiva sets up the loans, you contribute to the person you want to loan to (via PayPal), and within a few months, the money comes back and you can reinvest or get your money back. I've loaned to a pig farmer in Indonesia, a carpenter in Bolivia, a small consortium of fruit and vegetable saleswomen in Peru, a weaver in Peru, and someone who sells home decor in Peru. They've all either paid back their loans or are close to doing so. It feels very rewarding.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Yay!

Heard from one of my best friends EVAR. She didn't give up on me! Imagine that! Here I am, ready to be a friend again, and next thing you know, a friend pops up. Make that a Friend. Yay!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sad, so so sad

This is truly the only way to read Garfield -- without Garfield. This site has the facts -- that Jon is really talking to himself, and he is a sad, delusional, miserably lonely guy. It's much funnier this way.

Good speech, huh?

Imagine, if you can: A presidential candidate running on compassion and determination, rather than on fear and hatred. Imagine that.

Looky at what Adam made for me!

That Apelad is a jeeeeenyus!

Friday, March 14, 2008

A fat lot of help he'll be!

George W. Bush never was a successful oilman, really. How did he make all his money? Via corporate welfare and eminent domain. Here's a slice of a very informative article that I read back in 2000, in the New York Times:

Mr. Bush became a multimillionaire in the process, setting himself up financially for his run for the presidency. In one blow, he acquired not only wealth but also the resume he would need to triumph in politics.

Yet a close look suggests that Mr. Bush got the opportunity to be a baseball owner mostly because of his connections. Moreover, his investment was immensely profitable in part because he and his co-owners were shrewd bargainers who charmed and bullied the city of Arlington into giving them a great deal, with the local taxpayers paying more than $135 million to help build the Rangers a stadium.

''The largest welfare recipient in the state of Texas is George W. Bush,'' said Mark S. Rosentraub, a sports economist who formerly taught in Arlington and is now at Indiana University. ''The numbers speak for themselves. You cannot accept $135 million from the taxpayers of Arlington and then be against welfare.''

Mr. Bush and his fellow owners even got the local government to seize the property of other landowners and, in effect, hand it over to the Texas Rangers so that they could make a profit on it. All this was shrewd business and a tribute to Mr. Bush's savvy and vision, but critics complain that it is hard to reconcile with his speeches about limited government and private property rights.

''If a conservative is one who believes in limited government, this whole transaction shows how hypocritical it is for Bush to claim to be a conservative,'' said Jim Runzheimer, a lawyer in Arlington who opposed the public subsidy to build the stadium. ''He got the government to pay his expenses, and that flies in the face of capitalism.''

Yet Mr. Bush was simply doing, exceptionally successfully, what sports franchises everywhere have frequently tried: getting taxpayers to swallow some of their business costs. And to the extent that Mr. Bush's job at that time was to make money for the team's owners, he was eminently successful. ("The 2000 Campaign: Breaking into Baseball; Road to Politics Ran Through a Texas Ballpark, by Nicholas D. Kristof, Published Sept. 24, 2000.)

Yup, they seized private land for the new stadium complex. So much for small gummint.

I recall reading that he never really made any money in oil, but kept getting jobs in the industry because of his dad's connections. And that he'd always wanted to be baseball commissioner. Why didn't he get that job instead?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Woo! Four-day weekend! Woo!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Imagine that

So I was in Borders over the weekend, and I was passing some teenager type people, one of whom was looking at the Sony ebook reader that they're trying to sell there, and he said, "Wow, hey, look, a portable book!" and his friend said something like, "No way, dude!"

Because a portable book is really, you know, amaaaaazing.