Sunday, December 30, 2007
THE CREDIT CRUNCH, IN VERSE
Would you buy my CDO?
I do not like them, Broker Joe
I do not like your CDO!
Would you like it here or there?
I would not like it here or there
I would not like it anywhere
I do not like your CDO
I do not like it, Broker Joe
Read the whole thing.
We are more ready to try the untried when what we do is inconsequential. Hence the fact that many inventions had their birth as toys.
--Eric Hoffer, via Brian Micklethwait
Previous Worth Pondering
Friday, December 28, 2007
SOMETIMES IT TAKES A MARXIST
...to really appreciate capitalism.
(cross-posted at Chicago Boyz)
Thursday, December 27, 2007
A LETTER FROM IRAQ
...which really deserves to be read.
Monday, December 24, 2007
A Christmas reading from Thomas Pynchon.
Rick Darby has some thoughts on the season.
An air traffic control version of The Night Before Christmas.
The first radio broadcast of voice and music took place on Christmas Eve, 1906. Or maybe not.
On December 25, 1944, the Battle of the Bulge was still very much in progress. Here is a contemporary radio report.
And here is a complaint that Christmas is not what it once was. From 1740.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Here's a nice site devoted to French Christmas carols.
The Anchoress gets her nails done, and talks with some immigrants about the meaning of America.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
CHARLEMAGNE: NOW IN PAPERBACK
Jeff Sypeck's book Becoming Charlemagne, which I reviewed earlier this year, is now available in paperback.
Jeff's blog is here.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
MORE MEDIA DISINTERMEDIATION?
See my post at Chicago Boyz.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
BLAM! SOCK! POW! EPISODE #2
Snarky Barron's columnist Alan Abelson was once said by someone to have "predicted seven of the last four recessions." In a letter to the editor (12/12), an investment consultant writes:
In Alan Abelson's soul, it is always 6 AM in a one-room apartment with a view of nothing. I can taste the ashes and bitter coffee.
I actually think Abelson provides a useful counerpart to the manic perma-bulls who pervade the Wall Street media, although I often disagree with him on investing and almost always disagree with him on politics. But the above is truly an excellent example of the art of invective.
On a more serious note, Roger Simon devastates Lawrence O'Donnell.
Monday, December 17, 2007
THOUGHTS ON HOLLYWOOD
...from Emmy-award-winning screenwriter Robert Avrech:
Say what you will about the old Hollywood moguls; they were crude, they were ruthless, they often treated talent like cattle. But they loved America. Almost every original studio head was a dirt poor Jewish immigrant fleeing pogroms, who made it in the Goldina Medina, the Golden Land. They were grateful to live in America, grateful for our freedoms, and they placed the enormous weight and prestige of their studios behind the war effort.
Jason Apuzzo develops the thought further:
There’s a culture that’s taken over Hollywood that wasn’t there during the half-century Golden Age: Hollywood Culture. It’s not a spurious correlation that once upon a time when this industry made great films that also enthralled the masses, almost everyone who worked in Hollywood came from someplace else. From foreign countries, as Robert mentioned, but also from the heartland of America – raised among their eventual audience on farms, in small towns, and in tenaments. As a general rule, this just isn’t true anymore. Maybe they weren’t raised on right on Sunset Boulevard, but most likely somewhere in Southern California, Manhattan, the theatre district of some big city, or some other place most of us don’t know of. I’m not saying one’s better than the other. Fine people come from all places. But the disconnect is very real.
You have generations here now; cliques of people comfortable working with each other, with much in common, but unfortunately, it’s the bubble they most have in common. And let’s face it, they don’t like us very much. You know how I know that? I’ve seen their films.
Several interesting comments on Jason's post.
Friday, December 14, 2007
BLAM! SOCK! POW!
Ann Althouse is in fine form these days, taking on a pretentious article, in the New Republic:
Wouldn't Charles Dickens be laughing at you — with your reactionary twaddle and your meager profits?
UPDATE: Actor Ron Silver takes on NYT columnist Paul Krugman and does a great job of demolition.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
70 YEARS AGO
On this day in 1937, the Chinese city of Nanking fell to the Imperial Japanese Army. This marked the beginning of the events known as the Rape of Nanking. Estimates of the number of people killed--civilians and prisoners of war--range between 100,000 and 400,000. These killings were not collateral damage from military operations: they were outright murder, often involving great sadism.
The massacres are rarely mentioned at any length in most modern books I read recounting the origins of the Second World War, or by my students, when they enumerate the causes of American entry into the Second World War, but rising American determination to stop Japanese aggression in Chine spiked sharply when news of the massacres reached the United States.
(via Tinkerty Tonk)
FUN WITH WORDS
Apodyopsis, dyscallignia, and snoutband
LAYOUT: PRINT VS ONLINE
Why are so many websites so hard to read? This designer suggests that layout conventions that work well in print are too frequently used in the on-line environment where they are not effective.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILLS
WSJ has an interesting item on William Kamkwamba, a 20-year-old in Malawi who has built his own windmills to generate electricity and is now helping others to do the same.
Related: Technology for the Poor, Continued
Monday, December 10, 2007
MONOPOLY: NOW WITH CMOs
A letter to Financial Times (12/8) responds to an article on the board game Monopoly:
...Monopoly players preparing for the Christmas playing season may be interested in some additional house rules, aimed at reflecting more closely real life, namely, the introduction of a residential mortgaged-backed securities market, and then, to make it really fun, build a derivatives market around it.
A friend of mine introduced this into his game many years ago - it's actually quite simple, despite what many would have one believe - and it was astonishing how regularly the bank went bust, and how often the "contracts" were traded below par.
Much trouble, interestingly enough, derived from players over-leveraging on Mayfair and Park Lane. It was in fact a sort of inverse to the subprime, and maybe a pointer to Credit Crisis - the Sequel.
Friday, December 07, 2007
METAPHORS, INTERFACES, AND THOUGHT PROCESSES
See my post at Chicago Boyz.
PEARL HARBOR DAY
One woman's memories.
U.S. Navy history site.
UPDATE: Neptunus Lex remembers a visit to Pearl Harbor while serving aboard the USS Constellation.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
INTERESTING THOUGHTS ON CHINA
...from David Brooks, who suggests that the Chinese Communist Party, in its current form, is something like "the Harvard Alumni Association with an army."
via the Four-Eyed Gremlin.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Bitter has some haunting photographs.
Monday, December 03, 2007
THE TRANSISTOR IS 60
In December 1947, Bells Labs scientists unveiled the device that would become known as the transistor.
Link via Instapundit and The Speculist.
See also my post about missed opportunities in the semiconducter industry: Leaving a Trillion on the Table.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
"THE SELF-DESIGNING HIGH-RELIABILITY ORGANIZATION"
An interesting article on aircraft carrier flight operations from the standpoint of organization design, linked from my post at Chicago Boyz.