Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Mr. "Audacity of Hope" indeed. Hey, what else can he do? He's never done anything, run anything, or made right anything that was wrong. He has to piss all over the economy to distinguish himself and make the Republicans seem incompetent by comparison. But I'll guarantee one thing: no matter who wins in November, the economy will miraculously recover, or at least we'll stop hearing doom and gloom stories all the time. Journalists will find something else to mope about, and we can all get on with our lives.
So why the long faces? Sen. Obama reminds them every day of how dreary things are. Here's what Mr. "Audacity of Hope" told workers in Ohio last week: "Everywhere I go . . . you see people who have worked in a plant for 20 years, put their heart and soul into building profits for shareholders. Suddenly, the rug's pulled out from under them; the job's shipped overseas." Not only that, he explains: "They don't have health care. They don't have a pension. They're trying to compete with their teenage kids for a job paying $7 an hour at the local fast food joint."
Times are tough in many old industrial areas of the country. And middle-class anxiety about the costs of health care and higher education is real. But new data from the Census Bureau reveal that Americans of all income groups have made enormous gains in their standard of living in recent decades. As late as 1970, air conditioning, color TVs, washing machines, dryers and microwaves were considered luxuries. Today the vast majority of even poor families have these things in their homes. Almost one in three "poor" families has not one but at least two cars.
Consumption in real per-capita terms has nearly doubled since 1970. The single largest increase in expenditures for low-income households over the past 20 years was for audio and visual entertainment systems -- up 119%. In 2007 Americans spent an estimated $1 billion to change the tune of the ringer on their cellphones. Eating in restaurants used to be something the rich did regularly and the middle class did on special occasions. The average family now spends $2,700 a year dining out.
Thomas Sowell said it best: very few people understand economics, and none of them work in the news industry. You used to have to be an expert in a certain field before they'd let you write about it, but now you have to be an expert in news writing before they'll give you a chance to learn about the field you're supposed to report on. That's all kinds of backward and stupid. Don't believe the hype about anything, and especially not the US economy.
Link from Paul Katcher.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
I can't tell you how painful it is to realize that he suffered because of our affection for him. A small and malfunctioning liver doesn't process protein very well, and we stuffed the poor little fellow with doggie chicken jerky, meat from the dinner table, and even his fancy veterinary-quality food was probably poisoning him slowly. But we just didn't understand the signs, and neither did our veterinarian.
Even worse is the fact that toward the end he wasn't able to go the whole night without relieving himself once or twice, and in our most recent home we don't have a doggie door. Usually I'd get up a couple of times, a sort of mental alarm clock, and take him out, but when I didn't I'd patrol the kitchen first thing and usually find a couple of messes. He had the good nature to do it on the tile, but I have to confess to punishing him more than once, figuring it had to be malicious. Mind you, he'd leave similar gifts on the floor even if we just left him and Fred in the house for a half hour no matter how many times we let him out before, so it's not like he didn't have some doggie vengeance in his soul (the first time we moved after getting him, we left the dogs alone in the house for two hours and he took a dump on my pillow), but I'll never forgive myself for yelling at him, making him smell it and spanking him one morning recently when I'd had it with cleaning up the floor several days in a row. I feel like a monster. He couldn't help himself and probably felt like crap for months, maybe years, and instead of trying to understand why I just lost it and took it out on a sick dog who couldn't help himself.
Oliver was a sweet, exuberant little puffball of love, a one of a kind dog who I'll remember forever, just like I'll always remember Patton, the orange tabby who's grooming him in the picture above. Pattycake disappeared one day outside our condo in Travis Heights, and we don't know if he was bitten by a rattler, hit by a car, eaten by the grey foxes that lived in the empty lot next door, or kidnapped by the neighbors who moved away the day he disappeared. But losing both of these wonderful animals taught me one simple thing: when your sister the veterinarian gives you advice, take it. My sister Nancy told me a thousand times not to give my dogs human food or too many treats, and she told me just as many times not to let my cat outside the house. She was right on both counts, and I was a fool to think I knew better, that I was being kind to them by giving them what I thought they wanted, what I thought I'd want in their places. I just sped them on their way. I hope they can forgive me.
I'll miss you, Ollie Bear. See you on the other side.
UPDATE: See Deirdre's touching tribute here.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
I also enjoy profanity and lewdness. This video is from a documentary called The Aristocrats, which if you haven't seen you should, as long as you don't mind unbelievably foul language and imagery. You've been warned, so don't watch this part of it if you're liable to object to naughtiness:
You've got to see Bob Saget's version of the joke, not to mention Jason Alexander's, which features butterflied testicles. You heard me.