A Few of my Favorite Things – Friday Night Bits n’ Bobs

About seven years ago I spent a week touring through southern Germany with my family, culminating with a final 2 days in Salzburg, just across the southeastern border into Austria. Salzburg is a beautiful city, but in order to spend half a day visiting nearby Das Kehlsteinhaus, better known here as The Eagle’s Nest, the only remaining vestige of Hitler’s high command retreat in Obersalzburg, I had to consent to a grueling half day Sound of Music tour with my wife and daughters in and around Salzburg itself. Three hours on a bus with chirpy Julie Andrews singing incessantly in the background. Ugh.

That being said, Maria and the young von Trapps seemed the perfect intro to tonight’s Bits & Pieces, which includes a few of my favorite links that I have collected over the years, ranging from informative to entertaining to complete and utter timewasters. With that in mind…

I can’t remember how I came across this Famous Trials website, but it is fantastic, complete with synopses, trial transcripts, evidence, photos, and more for any number of historically interesting cases, ranging from the Salem Witchcraft trials, to the Alger Hiss perjury trial, to the 3 trials of Oscar Wilde. Legal Eagles, and wannabes like me, dig in.
Boomshine, a totally addicting timewaster. Be warned.
I’m sure few of you would have guessed, but I enjoy arguments. No, really, I’m not kidding. And by arguments I mean formal, logical arguments. Anyone interested in arguing must know, and hopefully avoid, the logical fallacies.
Jim Boeheim, head coach of the Syracuse University basketball team, has long been known for speaking his mind to the media. This tendency towards bluntness has recently gotten him in some reasonably serious trouble, but as a long-time Syracuse fan it also provided my favorite post-game press conference moment. (Warning…earmuff the little ones):

And, weirdly, the same press conference as re-interpreted by girls in bikinis:

As an aside, speaking of Syracuse basketball, I was actually in attendance at the greatest game in Big East history. It was a long night, but well worth it in the end.

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been fascinated by the JFK assassination. One of the first books I ever remember checking out of our local public library was a book about the assassination, and over the years I have read pretty much every book that has been written about it. I even have a condensed copy of the Warren Report on my bookshelf. This is been brought to mind because for Christmas I got Stephen King’s most recent book 11/22/63, about a man who goes back in time in an effort to prevent the assassination. I started it on Tuesday morning and finished it yesterday. Thought it was great. Anyway, if you are at all interested in the assassination and the many varied conspiracy theories (and why they are all bunk), this site by John McAdams is a great place to start.
The Illustrated Road to Serfdom.
I linked to this once before over at the blog whose name dare not be spoken, but everyone should read this book at some point, and it’s free on the web, so I’ll link to it again: The Ultimate Resource.
For movie buffs, I give you another boring-day timewaster, Invisibles. You have to name the movie from a still shot taken from one scene, but there’s a catch. All the people – but not their clothes – have been airbrushed out of the photo.
Another one for movie buffs. Have you ever watched a movie supposedly based on real events and wondered how much of it was true, or what the actual people looked like? Well, now you can find out.

Substitute Morning Report

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1261.52 -1.51 0.12%
Eurostoxx Index 2303.7 11.42 0.50%
Oil (WTI) 98.98 -0.67 -0.67%
LIBOR 0.5810 0.000 0.00%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.120 -0.366 -0..45%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.871% -0.028%

Last trading day of the year. Should be a very sleepy one. Bond market closes early today, at 2pm est, most desks are operating with skeleton crews, and most books have already been squared/positioned for year end. Not a whole lot going on.

European news seems concentrated on Spain and its deficit cutting. Today the Spanish PM announced 14.9 billion Euros in deficit reduction, made up of both spending cuts and higher taxes.

S&P index is, at the moment, poised to post it’s 3rd straight year of positive gains, although just barely, and it could easily tip negative for the year by the end of the day. Currently up just .38% on the year, it needs to stay above 1257 to post a positive year. At 1262 as I type.

Not a whole lot more to say…although I’m sure john could add some pithy comments even as the markets sputter to a year end close. Here’s to hoping for continued improvement in 2012. Happy New Year, all.

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