Peacock Tail=1959 Cadillac Eldorado Tail Fin

During an alcohol fueled discussion on the evolution of the automobile with my friend Roman (who is also willing to discuss whether the ratio of pi is the same in base seven) we got stuck determining what parallels are accurate between a technological process and natural selection-- and whether perhaps a technological process exhibits Lamarckism-- and in the midst of this I stumbled on a super-excellent corollary to the analogy: outrageous tailfins-- which add no "survival" value to an automobile-- tailfins are not a product of typical technological selection of the automobile, where more efficient parts and better performing models are selected and the Edsel becomes extinct, but tailfins are instead a product of sexual selection . . . like the peacock's tail, they don't enable the organism to survive, but actually are detrimental to efficiency and exist solely for attractiveness, and this attractiveness requires more strength and metal and chrome and horsepower to lug the sexually selected trait around, so perhaps the organism with the largest trait is exceptionally fit, just because it can carry the trait around . . . and, similar to the peacock's tail, the evolution of the tailfin took on a life of its own and the tailfin got far larger than necessary, unless you're talking about attracting a mate, and then your traits can never be too big . . . and, of course, there's something aesthetically similar about the peacock's tail and the tailfin which makes me far more pleased than I should be about the fact that as far as the internet is concerned, no one else has ever come up with this analogy (so maybe the parallel doesn't hold water at all and I am insane, but I think this may be in the running for my best idea ever).

F- Tacos

The boys and I went to the delicious Mexican place in Princeton on Friday and I was going to get a taco to increase my 2011 Taco Count, but I didn't want a taco, I wanted a chorizo burrito and a chicken tamale-- smothered in mole sauce-- but I felt sort of guilty that I was squandering a chance to up the taco count, but then I got angry because the taco count was my own invention and why should I let something that I invented seep into my consciousness and affect my decisions . . . why should I be beholden to something that I jokingly created . . . especially since it was about satirizing New Year's resolutions . . . and if I wanted a tamale and a burrito then I was going to get a tamale and a burrito, especially since I was rarely in Princeton and I deserved a tamale and a chorizo burrito because I just did a scavenger hunt in the Princeton Art Museum with my children-- which was both fun and educational-- and so I deserved to order what I wanted because I was a good dad and there was no way I was going to let my life be controlled by tacos and some stupid number posted on my third rate blog . . . and so I said to myself, "I am not a number! I am more than a number (of tacos)!" and I ordered the tamale and the burrito and they were delicious.

A Brief But Inconclusive Tale of a Tail

So Connell, Roman, and I are walking back from the Park Pub late Thursday night and we pass by the laundromat next to the dollar store on Main Street and we glance into the laundromat and we all start laughing, as there is a brown-skinned man in very tight jockey briefs floating in the air and doing something to the ceiling . . . all we see is this white ass high above the dryers . . . and we were laughing so hard that we never debriefed each other on what we thought the guy was doing . . . I made up a little story in my head that went like this: the laundromat handy-man somehow got his clothes dirty and decided to wash them, but then while they were in the wash he realized that he had to fix something on the ceiling-- maybe a light or some gadget above the dryers-- and it was really late and he wanted to get home and so he clambered up there in his briefs . . . but when I told the story to my wife, she laughed and said, "He was standing on a table and painting-- he didn't want to get his clothes dirty," and when I asked her how she knew this, she said that Roman had gone to visit her mother in the hospital and told her the story and so she had heard it third-hand from my mother-in-law and yet she still understood more about it than me-- but of course I was in no state to make any logical deductions as it was 2 AM when I saw it-- and so I tried to confirm the painting hypothesis with Connell so I could give you, my faithful audience that demands and deserves veracity in all my prose, an accurate story but Connell does not remember any paintbrush or paint, although he does think the man-in-briefs was standing on a table (and not levitating, as I saw it) and so the reason why the man was up there in his briefs will forever remain a mystery, but one thing is for sure, if you pass by Lakewash Laundromat at the right time of night, you might see something that you don't fully understand, but it is something that you will never, ever forget.

Wild, Wild Life

So this is as wild as it gets for an aging 41 year old athlete: a 10 PM adult league soccer game (congratulations to Terry for his hat trick) followed by a night of drinking at the North Brunswick Pub . . . which was surprisingly crowded for late on a Wednesday night . . . or it was surprising to me, as I am in bed by 8:30 on most week nights.

A Stupid Use For Time Travel

Everyone has a favorite t-shirt that has succumbed to the ravages of time, but what if you could travel back to your past and bring back one shirt . . . which t-shirt would you resurrect? . . . for me, it's a dead heat between my original "Cult Electric" concert shirt-- the white one with the guns and roses on it (Vincent Chase wore it on Entourage . . . they must have gotten it from a vintage shop) and my official Middlesex County "Mosquito Control" shirt-- it was bright yellow with the obtuse Mosquito Control in block letters and it always elicited weird looks when I wore it around campus (I was lucky enough to have TWO friends that worked for the Mosquito Control, so I had several of these t-shirts-- one survived until the mid-90's and then finally disintegrated).

There Must Be Some Misunderstanding

Sunday morning, after a long day of imbibing on a bachelor-party-camping-trip, I misread a sign on Route 18-- and the magnitude of my misread might indicate just how long a day of imbibing it was . . . and my only excuse for my egregious comprehension error is that I read the sign through a tree and so perhaps the branches made me parse the words the way I did; the sign was for a store called "Carpets and More," but I read it as "Car Pets and More," and spent several seconds puzzling over what kind of pet would live in a car and why anyone would want to have a pet that they kept solely in their car . . . and then, finally, my consciousness snapped back to normal and I realized that my brain was broken and would probably never recover (and as a side-note, I have hit the unfortunate age of the two day hangover).

This Meal Isn't Big Enough For The Both Of Us

I may have to duke it out with my five year old son at dinner, if my 2011 Taco Count is going to proceed unimpeded-- he ate three tacos Monday night, as did Catherine-- and there are only twelve in a packet, so I had to make do with a soft taco in order to eat a seventh . . . eventually our kitchen is going to be a two taco package town.

The Right Decision Is Not Always Fun



I asked my wife if I could show this YouTube video to our children, and she said that it isn't nice to laugh at other people's pain . . . but I think in this one instance (and maybe this one as well) it is okay to do so.

You Thought You Were A Nerd . . .

High school students of the world-- if you ever wondered what goes inside the English office once the door closes and the teachers are no longer with the students, you might be disappointed, or you might find the answer strangely satisfying: Lego Sporcle!

Thus Endeth The Streak

We went down swinging, but-- tragically-- our salamander streak is over . . . I lifted up every rock, cement block, and rotten log in the Meadows, but even though it was a damp night, we had no luck-- just ants, centipedes, worms, and a giant hairy spider, and this makes me wonder: Where the f-%#  did all the salamanders go? . . . it makes no sense, we found them by the dozens earlier this spring, but now they have vanished . . . and, to add insult to injury, my kids stepped in dog-shit and-- defying the laws of dog-shit physics-- they managed to transfer the dog-shit from their Crocs all up and down their skinny bare legs . . . and now that our run is done, I can honestly say that our attempt to match The Yankee Clipper is certainly a reminder of just how stupendous his streak really is.

Clutch Lifting


As far as our salamander streak was concerned, it was the bottom of the ninth, with two out and two strikes-- we had lifted up every log and rock in our secret salamander spot, but because of the previous week's dry weather, the ground wasn't as damp as usual . . . and the patches under the rocks, logs, and concrete were full of ants, termites, centipedes, black beetles, and fat worms . . . but no salamanders; both my children had given up (after asking me if we could "forget" this trip) but as we exited the woods, I gave the last (or first, depending on your perspective) log a quick check, and underneath was one scrawny red-striped salamander . . . a "Texas leaguer," but a hit nonetheless, and so though we are still forty-five shy of DiMaggio's magic number, our streak rolls on.

No Principles=Happiness

Last week, I received a phone call from my wife and she told me she was at the gas station and had been waiting for ten minutes but hadn't gotten any service-- she said she even tried to pump the gas herself but you needed some sort of code to do that in New Jersey-- and so she was pretty irate and then she said, "Oh here he comes," and I heard her ask for "thirty dollars of regular, cash," and then I didn't hear from her for a while-- a long while, because she was supposed to come home and cook some pasta for the kids while I went and retrieved them from the trampoline in our neighbor's backyard, but when I got home from that errand, she was nowhere to be found, which was annoying, because now we had to rush to eat, and then my cell-phone rang again and it was her and she said, "I'm still at the gas station, I'm waiting for the police," and then she told me why: the attendant had filled her tank, despite the fact that she asked for thirty dollars cash, and she didn't have any more cash and she refused to pay the extra twelve dollars or give the attendant her credit card because it was his mistake, so he threatened to to call the police on her because she wouldn't pay the full 42 dollars and he wrote down her license number, so she turned the tables on him, and she called the police on him, for threatening her and writing down her license for no reason, and eventually the police came and sided with her (she was in Edison, and she is an Edison teacher after all, and the attendant admitted his mistake, and after trying to negotiate-- "you pay six and I pay six"-- he told her that he was very poor and that the manager made him pay for mistakes such as this out of his salary, and so then my wife got out of her car and gave the manager a piece of her mind, and said that if he made the attendant pay for the mistake she was going to tell all her friends to boycott this particular Raceway) but of course my advice to her before she told me the whole story was, "Just pay the twelve dollars and get out of there! Come home to your husband and children! We need you!" but my wife said that she had to stay and fight the good fight because it was a "matter of principle," and she was emboldened by the fact that an old man at the station told her: "They did the same thing to my wife last week!" and so she felt she was standing up for everyone who had suffered over-charging at this station and had to set things straight and after it was all over I asked her a stupid (but sincere) question: "How did you call the police? How did you know the number?" and she said, "I dialed 911."

He Thinks He's So Smart


We were watching The Black Cauldron and it was getting near the end and the plot was tense and my five year old son was worried, but my seven year old son reassured him and said, "Three things have to happen or this isn't Disney . . . Gurgi has to come back to life, Taran and Eilonwy have to get home, and they have to find Hen-Wen, the magic pig," and like clockwork, in the waning minutes, these three things came true and Ian was relieved and Alex felt very clever . . . so I'm going to throw in Old Yeller next weekend and really blow his mind.

Back By Popular Demand! More Ha-Joon Chang Analogies!


Some analogies are so bad they're stupid; some analogies are so bad they're funny; and-- of course-- some analogies make a lot of sense, and help you to understand something complex in simpler terms . . . and in Ha-Joon Chang's book Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, he uses a couple of metaphors to summarize his comprehensive data on free market history: 1) he accuses rich countries of what Friedrich List called "kicking away the ladder," which means that they arrive at economic stability and wealth through complex and strategic protectionism, tariffs, regulation of foreign investment, regulation on imports and exports, and subsidies-- but then once these these nations (and he uses America, Britain, and his home country of North Korea as his prime examples) have reached a position of economic power, they use institutions such as the WTO and the IMF, treaties, embargoes, copyright law, and tariffs to force impoverished nations into adopting extreme free market policies despite the fact that these countries are not ready to compete in a free market . . . and so, the rich nations use the ladder to climb, and then kick it away when poor countries want to use the same method 2) Chang's second metaphor about the irrationality of the current free market ideology centers around his six year old son, Jin-Gyu, who he ironically claims is "living in an economic bubble . . . over-protected," and so he "needs to be exposed to competition" . . . in other words, he should get a job-- he could be a successful shoe-shine boy or street hawker and learn the value of hard work-- but, of course, we don't do this to our children, we protect them for many years from the competitions of the free market until they can develop intellect enough to take part in the competition for the best jobs . . . and he compares this absurdity to how "free trade economists claim that developing country producers need to be exposed to as much competition right now, so that they have the incentive to raise productivity in order to survive . . . protection by contrast, only creates complacency and sloth," and Chang points out that this "infant industry argument," was proposed by the inventor of another great economic metaphor-- Adam Smith-- who claimed that an "invisible hand" guided the free market to efficiency, but even Adam Smith understood that free markets and protectionism need to exist in concert, not opposition.

Winter's Bone: Not Nearly As Depressing As The Blurb


Netflix describes Winter's Bone as an "unflinching noir drama set deep in the Ozarks," and because of that depressing description,  I kept moving it down my queue . . . avoiding it, though I had heard great things . . . but it wasn't depressing at all, in fact, seventeen year old Ree Dolly's quest for her meth-cooking dad-- who she needs to find (dead or alive) in order to save her homestead from the bail bondsman-- reminded me more of Lord of the Rings than Deliverance . . . the film is an an odyssey through the backwoods of the Ozarks, and instead of having to outwit Polyphemus, Ree has to out-fox Fat Milton: ten pots of deer stew out of ten.

It's Hard To Take Notice of Things When Sugar Is Involved


Apparently, if there is a pile of neatly packaged Ghirardelli seven layer brownies (two to a sandwich bag) sitting on the counter, then they are not intended for me to consume-- but I didn't notice the packaging style when I ate the first bag, because I thought that there were two brownies left over from my wife's book club party the night before, but then when I went back and found another bag with two brownies in it, sitting in a pile of similar bags, I should have realized that they might be for something other than random consumption . . . but I was in a sugar frenzy and the thought didn't even cross my mind . . . and then once I finished the fourth brownie I got all hyper and went to the park with the kids and played sports for two hours and forgot all about the oddly packaged leftovers until my wife-- typically amazed by my stupidity-- told me they were for the International Day bake sale (but no worries, I am going to pay for them).

Why Did I Read This?


I thought I should read something more literary before returning to the juvenile pleasures of George R.R. Martin, and so I tackled and finished Stewart O'Nan's Wish You Were Here, a 514 page account of the Maxwell family's last visit to their lake house in Chautauga, New York . . . the patriarch of the family has died and his wife Emily doesn't have the time, money, or patience to take care of their family vacation cottage, and her children aren't financially capable of taking over the deed . . . and so, in the span of a week, the novel shows all nine Maxwells-- who are definitely "lost souls" since Henry died, "swimming in the fish bowl" of the little cottage, as they literally run "over the same old ground" and find "the same old fears," and though a certain synopsis might sound exciting and full of conflict: let's stuff a failed artist, a recently divorced, often stoned recovering alcoholic mom, her hot and boy-crazy teenage daughter, a frustrated photographer, his shy teenage daughter who has an incestuous lesbian crush on her cousin, a kleptomaniac kid, a wacky retired teacher, and a cranky widow in a small space, and throw a ominous kidnapping into the background . . . but the reality that O'Nan is trying to capture is different . . . everyone is on good behavior and overwhelmed by nostalgia and essentially lost in their own heads and Lise sums up the theme: "She wondered what her life would look like in a book . . . now that was a depressing idea . . . she thought that her life was average and nothing to be ashamed of . . . the world wasn't as magical as people liked to believe . . . that was why they read books to escape it," but-- of course-- a book like this isn't an escape from reality, it's a portrait of it, and I am glad I am through with it and can return to a book where "wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside" because it is getting near summer, after all, and soon enough I'll be living O'Nan's reality, so I'm not sure why I forced myself to read about it.

My Deepest Sympathies

Just as Christians feel pity for all the people who died before the coming of Christ, and wonder about their fate in the after-life, I feel pity for all those who died before the invention of Blu-ray, and never got to watch The Fall in HD.

Why Did I Read This?



I thought I should read something more literary before returning to the juvenile pleasures of George R.R. Martin, and so I tackled and finished Stewart O'Nan's Wish You Were Here, a 514 page account of the Maxwell family's last visit to their lake house in Chautauga, New York . . . the patriarch of the family has died and his wife Emily doesn't have the time, money, or patience to take care of their family vacation cottage, and her children aren't financially capable of taking over the deed . . . and so, in the span of a week, the novel shows all nine Maxwells-- who are definitely "lost souls" since Henry died, "swimming in the fish bowl" of the little cottage, as they literally run "over the same old ground" and find "the same old fears," and though a certain synopsis might sound exciting and full of conflict: let's stuff a failed artist, a recently divorced, often stoned recovering alcoholic mom, her hot and boy-crazy teenage daughter, a frustrated photographer, his shy teenage daughter who has an incestuous lesbian crush on her cousin, a kleptomaniac kid, a wacky retired teacher, and a cranky widow in a small space, and throw a ominous kidnapping into the background . . . but the reality that O'Nan is trying to capture is different . . . everyone is on good behavior and overwhelmed by nostalgia and essentially lost in their own heads and Lise sums up the theme: "She wondered what her life would look like in a book . . . now that was a depressing idea . . . she thought that her life was average and nothing to be ashamed of . . . the world wasn't as magical as people liked to believe . . . that was why they read books to escape it," but-- of course-- a book like this isn't an escape from reality, it's a portrait of it, and I am glad I am through with it and can return to a book where "wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside" because it is getting near summer, after all, and soon enough I'll be living O'Nan's reality, so I'm not sure why I forced myself to read about it.


Wait A Minute . . . Who Is An Idiot?

We were playing the "Can You Help Me Figure Out Who I Just Had A Conversation With" game in the English Office the other day, and we were really getting close to figuring out who I had just talked to in the stairwell about Busch Gardens, were were closing in and everyone was doing their best to help me solve the puzzle, and then the light-bulb went off in my brain and I said, dramatically, to get everyone's attention, "Wait a minute," and then I asked my question, a question-- that if anyone knew the answer-- would crack the case, a question so incisive and clever that someone wrote it on the whiteboard . . . and here is what I asked: "Who spoke at graduation last year?" and my friend Liz stared at me for a long awkward moment . . . then realized that I was earnest and waiting for a serious answer, and finally said: "You did!"

Which Weeds Are Getting Whacked?

My wife took a look at out neighbor's freshly mowed lawn and asked an excellent question: Are dandelions being selected for-- are they surviving-- because of their ability to withstand lawn-mowing? and judging by the number that survived the mower, they are . . . perhaps the dandelions with the stronger, more flexible and whippier stems are surviving and these traits are becoming more pronounced in suburban dandelions . . . and I'm not sure how you could measure this-- you either need pre-lawnmower dandelion DNA or access to some wild strain of dandelion and then you could do some measurements on the tensile strength of the stems . . . or run an experiment with the wild strain and see if over generations the stems change . . . but maybe there is a more elegant solution: so I will ask Quora and see.

How To Use The New Explosions In The Sky Album


Get up early, don some big old-school headphones, put on "Take Care, Take Care, Take Care" and wander around the park before anyone else is there (it might also be good to listen to while roller-blading, but I haven't tried yet).

Another Free Idea . . . And I Did The Hard Part

So our on-line digital experience is becoming more and more concise; web-pages are difficult to wade through, blogs have consolidated some of this information into manageable nuggets, Facebook pared things down more, and Twitter seemed to be the end result: with its 140 character limit, brevity truly is the soul of wit . . . but I think there's room for one more application, one more level down on the communication ladder, and I call it GRUNT! and this platform will allow you to send a three second sound with a short title to your followers: perhaps you would GRUNT! the sound "yee-ha!" with the title "Bin Laden is Dead!" or "blah" with the title "Monday Morning" or "yum" attached to a local restaurant, and, of course, there's no way text can do these sounds justice-- as the expressive of a sound is  infinite and unlimited-- and a GRUNT! conveys an amazing amount of information in a short space (and also don't require much literacy) and so I think this is the future of communication . . . now I've done the hard part in this process and thought of the idea . . . all you need to do is raise the capital, write the code, design the web-pages, market the application, and run the company.

The Black Swan: Happy Mother's Day


My review of The Black Swan is appropriately schizophrenic-- I watched the movie in two parts and I found the first hour grueling and painful-- the plot is typical sports melodrama (the meek but hardworking underdog gets her chance to shine) and typical sports melodrama is the only melodrama that gets to me emotionally (Hoosiers, Rudy, King of Kong, Rocky, etc.), and so I was really rooting for Natalie Portman's character, hoping that her hard work and dedication to her sport would pay off (the images and sounds of her battered feet really got to me, maybe because I've been playing soccer with a broken toe the past couple of weeks and can empathize) and so Nina's complete lack of joy for her art-- her obsessiveness and isolation and her mental disintegration-- was really depressing (unlike Aronofsky's The Wrestler, which is also a depressing sports movie, but Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei are disintegrating physically, and that's never as bad as disintegrating mentally, and in the end The Wrestler feels oddly triumphant as each character learns to cope with their physical decay) but I got over the hump in the second half of The Black Swan . . . I learned to "stop worrying and love the bomb" . . . and enjoy how the film turns the corner and becomes a full fledged horror film  (and Portman turns into a full-fledged black swan) so if you're watching the movie and you want to quit, stick with it until it gets really macabre . . . and maybe you can explain to me exactly what happens to Winona Ryder's character in the hospital (enjoy the cheesy irony of Winona Ryder chastising Portman for filching her stuff) and though it almost needs two separate ratings for the two halves, I'll average it out to 8 tutus out of a possible 10.

The Last of the Dialers?


I can still recall the home phone number of a few of my childhood friends (several days ago, my wife needed to call the father of one of my old friends and I was able to instantly produce the phone number from memory) and this  leads to my two questions of the day . . . and these questions may only apply to people of my generation and older: 1) Can you remember any phone numbers from your youth? 2) Will ours be the last generation that is able to do this?

More Difficult Than Fermat's Last Theorem


How do you get all of the tomato paste out of the little can?

Quora!


So I'm thinking of writing an epic science-fiction novel that is set in a number of giant self-sustaining bio-dome type structures dotted about the ruins of earth-- the people inside are waiting for the earth's ecosystem to regenerate from some cataclysm--and during the wait (which will be thousands of years) the various self-sustaining pods evolve different economic systems and this leads to a variety of debates, conflicts, and decisions about how to use the resources in each pod, and also how trade works between the pods-- it would be science-fiction of economics and conservation and so-- for preliminary research for this book that I will certainly never even attempt to write-- I posed this question to Quora: Is it more cost effective to eat the chicken or is it better to keep the chicken alive and eat its eggs? and people have already given me some logical answers . . . for free!-- so I suggest you create an account and ask questions for research you will never use but are mildly curious about.

Am I An Umbrellist?

Yesterday morning was rainy, and one of my male students proudly showed everyone his Sesame Street umbrella-- which I found shocking, as I would never be caught dead holding an umbrella-- they make me think of Mary Poppins and Singin' in the Rain, neither of which are particularly manly . . . and I am all man (except when I roller-blade) but I canvassed the class and found that most of the kids-- male and female-- were umbrella users, and quite a few had umbrellas on their person . . . and so I tried to explain my deep-seated emotions about umbrellas to them: first, if you don't use an umbrella, it's scary to walk by someone wielding an umbrella because you are in danger of getting your eye poked out by one of the vanes; second, an inattentive umbrella user might pour water on you; third, bad luck is certain to anyone who opens an umbrella indoors, yet kids find it irresistible, not only to open them, but also to twirl them; and fourth (and the root of my unbridled umbrellism) is that a man looks patently absurd while carrying one-- either opened or closed-- and he should either wear a hat or a hooded rain jacket and deal with the weather.

Watch Your Language


Last week, during the annual Poetry Festival at my high school, acclaimed poet BJ Ward spoke to my creative writing class about being sensitive to language-- he deconstructed the Pledge of Allegiance and wondered why the students were required to repeat it every morning if it was actually a pledge . . . a serious promise that is eternal . . . e.g. I have pledged to eat more tacos in 2011-- and since his presentation, I have been more alert to the words around me; for example, I noticed a Watch Children sign in Ward's hometown of Edison, and I wondered why they couldn't add the preposition "for" into the statement . . . Watch For Children isn't as ominous and ambiguous Watch Children, which could be advice from one pedophile to another, or a paranoid warning from a wary old person.

Breaking News! Bin Laden Will Cause Baby Boom!


Mark my words, the death of Osama Bin Laden will cause a mini-baby boom in the United States . . . hearing the story of the triumphant Black Ops mission and the resultant execution of the world's most wanted terrorist will make American males feel potent, virile, and masculine . . . and there is no better patriotic expression of potency, virility, and masculinity than impregnating your wife (except perhaps shooting a hand-gun while riding a jet-ski) and though Americans surely realize this event is only a symbolic end to an abstractly defined, on-going war, they will still view the world as a safer place for children now that Bin Laden is dead; the combined aphrodisiac of military success and optimism for our country's future will lead to some groovy, unprotected love-making  . . . so can someone remind  me to check the average birth rates next February (which is generally a month with comparatively less births than other months) to see if this half-baked thesis pans out?

A Useful Analogy (Hindsight is 20/20)

Ha-Joon Chang, in his book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, makes a case for increased government regulation of the financial sector, despite the logic that "the government does not know better than those whose actions are regulated by it . . . the government cannot know someone's situation as well as the individual or firm concerned" and so "government officials cannot improve upon the decisions made by the economic agents," but he explains that regulations often work not because the government "knows better," but because the regulations limit complexity, and of course this applies to the sub-prime mortgage crisis, where the financial instruments and derivatives were more complex than the experts and investors could predict, and Chang makes this useful comparison: when a company invents a new drug it cannot be sold immediately . . . first the drug needs to be rigorously tested on carefully monitored patients because the interactions of a new drug in the human body are complex and unpredictable, and it will take a while to tell if the new drug has more positive benefits than its side effects . . . and, of course, this was not done before we sold unregulated sub-prime mortgages, packaged them into mortgage backed securities, packaged those into collateralized debt obligations, and insured those with credit default swaps . . . and it turns out the side-effects of this financial treatment are nausea, irritability, unemployment, mental confusion, erectile dysfunction, depression, problems sleeping, constipation, diarrhea, kidney failure, hostility, hallucinations, canker sores, foreclosures, and panic attacks.

Survival in the Busch


Despite a perfect storm of things that annoy me: crowds, lines, motion sickness, lack of food . . . I survived our first day in a real amusement park (we've been to Knoebels, but that doesn't count) and I didn't even get that grouchy . . . maybe it was because of the lousy weather, which kept the lines to a minimum, or maybe it was because my wife and kids enjoyed the park so much-- they love all the rides, no matter how scary: Alex was just tall enough to go on "The Loch Ness Monster," and he did it twice, and Catherine went on every roller-coaster in the park . . . I am a pathetic coward, but I did manage to conquer the log flume twice without puking (although I felt downright queasy on the flight simulator "Europe in the Air," which is pathetic) and I really enjoyed the "Pet Shenanigans" show-- it was like a Tom and Jerry cartoon with real cats and dogs-- and the seats stayed perfectly still.
A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.