Memorial Day Bits and Pieces

What is a conservative?

Will’s perspective here has resonance for me, especially because I agree that TR was the progenitor of the modern Presidency.  I have always thought, since law school anyway, that Taft deserved better placement in history, but Wilson, quite a bit worse.

I will be reading McCain’s final book as soon as it is in paperback.


Our Adriatic cruise was the first pleasure cruise longer than eight hours for me.  Plusses:

  • we got a taste of several different “go to” destinations – the ruins at Delos, the ruins at Minos, the UN historical site at Alborello, the mountain views on Corfu, the surprisingly [to us] inviting old Dubrovnik, and Venice.
  • a decent amount of walking at each destination.
  • perfect May weather, 70s, no rain.
  • relatively low cost way to “sample” several destinations.
  • comfortable and efficient cabin on ship (MSC Lirica)
  • talented entertainers nightly in big production staged music, magic, dance, and acrobatics.
  • a world of travelers and a core crew fluent in five languages; mix of ages, families, singles.


  • Cruise ships are apparently studies in captive audience selling – massages, youthful skin treatments, yoga, dance lessons, photos, duty free inflated priced jewelry, and much more.
  • The shipboard food is plentiful but uneven in quality –  e.g.; great fresh fruit but beef like shoe leather no matter how you order it.
  • Public spaces are superficially glitzy, like casinos – visually tiring after a few days.
  • People past middle age in bikinis and skinny briefs flaunting beer guts and worse.
  • Bad lounge singers in the bars – remember Bill Murray’s parodies?
  • Ping Pong on the deck of a ship making 20 knots.


I had never intended to cruise anywhere except perhaps a river or the Inner Passage from Alaska to Vancouver.  I am still of that mindset.  We did this trip because my brother in law arranged it for his wife’s 60th birthday. Thus there were three siblings and their spouses traveling together.  We all get along well so Rosanne and I were willing to join in.

My bucket list is long and my time may not be.  Too many National Parks left, plus Australia, New Zealand, more UK, more Canada, and more Italy.  Cruises are not the way to do that.  And Corfu may be pretty, but it isn’t spectacular like the American west and northwest, or many stops on the Canadian Pacific route from Vancouver to Banff.


Madness in the Method?


Uber has ordered 24K self driving Volvo SUVs.

Forget that self-driving without a human monitor is not legal in most jurisdictions.  Assume Uber can rapidly obtain local approval for self driving vehicles. Assume it can cut its labor cost and sidestep its pending fight over whether its drivers are contract or employee.  Assume that by developing its own software controls for these Volvos it can customize successfully to locale and traffic patterns.

What I see is this:  Uber is banking its future on an asset base that will be pretty much worthless in 3-5 years.

I see that as a billion dollars blown every three years.  I see that as Uber having to build and staff and manage its own expert maintenance yards because it is using proprietary software, or having to contract that out at a premium.

It might be a workable model, but it is a HUGE gamble.  Yes or No?





dorme con i pesci, Harvey Weinstein

[Any excuse to link this song]

Iowahawk knows best 1/3/17

Evening Report 8/30/16

Syracuse, ostensibly an FBS football program in a P5 conference, opens against Colgate, an FCS team.

Michigan State, not to be outdone, opens against Furman, which may be in a lower division than even Colgate.

There are some good games scheduled this weekend – real intersectional clashes. ‘Bama is playing USC in Jerryworld. K St. goes to Stanford. UT plays ND Sunday night. Oklahoma is at UH; not a true old fashioned intersectional game, but it does pit preseason #3 against preseason #15. UNC v. UGA, Mizzou at WVa and LSU traveling to Lambeau to play Wiscy round out the potentially good games, I think, except for this one.  UCLA is traveling to College Station to play the benighted Aggies.  Here is UCLA’s take on Aggie “traditions”:

In other news, Turkey needs the west and the west needs Turkey, according to this article:

The EC wants to fine Apple more than a billion Euros for something.

What Texas state employees earn:

And piston engine airplanes are the last major source of lead in the atmosphere.


Just in Case Brent Doesn’t do his Thing 4/4/16

This group actually survives because of Morning Report.  Here is an Open Thread, just in case Brent doesn’t make it in to work for us this morning.


Propulsion at significant fractions of the speed of light:


Supremes uphold one-man one-vote based on population.


The Economist weighs in against a merger of the German and London Exchanges.


A good compilation of links on the Kurds.

The Kurds still revere GWB for liberating them, but it seems we are back into the morass of petty local reasons why other groups want them marginalized.  Meanwhile, they are the only dependable force against ISIS on the ground.  There’s a lot of stuff there a new Administration might want to consider.






President’s Day Post

Tuesday Bits and Pieces

This post is for Brent.

Classic commercials of the 60’s and 70’s. Talk about nostalgia and bringing back memories. Remember that crying Indian?

I don’t know what made me think of this, but I remember seeing this game live on WPIX when I was a kid. I’d never seen anyone so crazed before.

Duke beat Syracuse for the NCAA lacrosse national championship yesterday. This a more palatable memory, from 2009 (OK…this is more for me than Brent):

For all you Star Wars and Star Trek geeks, the physics of space battles.

This one really is for Brent…America’s coolest houses. BTW, number 2 is actually in New Canaan, so Brent you can easily visit. (I don’t get why it is such a big tourist attraction, but then again I don’t get a lot of things.)

And finally, an old KW favorite…bad lip reading:

Bits & Pieces (Tuesday, March 26th, 2013)

Patrick Swayze selling us Pabst Blue Ribbon back in 1979 (Remember back when 60 second commercials were actually common place? They were little movies. I like to think of this as a precursor to Dirty Dancing):

Or, as Dennis Hopper would say: Heineken? F**k that sh*t! Pabst Blue Ribbon!

I found this very, very humorous.

I love Bad Lip Reading.

When I’m feeling discouraged, I like to think back to this scene in Return of the King. “Not this day!” Awesome speech by Viggo Mortensen. What kind of name is “Viggo”?


I recently saw a movie I quite enjoyed. It’s Tell No One (Ne le dis à personne, in French). It’s a French movie based on American mystery writer Harlen Coben’s 2001 novel, Tell No One. His novel was set in New York and Maine, mostly, but the movie is set in Paris and the French countryside. The idea of watching a subtitled French movie based on an American mystery novel intrigued me, so I watched it, and was not disappointed. It is currently available to watch streaming on Netflix.


“Whites Only Laundry” . . . heh.

I think I’ve shopped at some of the places in the Thrift Shop video. If you’ve heard the song on the radio, I find it easier to understand when I watch the video. But mostly I love it because I’ve loved thrift shopping for about a million years. “Found a broken keyboard, bought a broken keyboard” . . . that’s totally me.

Yo, that’s $50 for a T-shirt.


Senate passes the Monsanto Protection Act. Which apparently requires that the USDA rubber-stamp sales of genetically modified seed?

IRS busted for wasting money on Star Trek parody video. Really, this is the best example of government waste we can find?

Bono still hasn’t found what he’s looking for, but he does suggest poverty is getting better.


This Bits & Pieces brought to you by Olivia-Newton John in 1978.

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