URLs du Jour

2009-02-09

  • President Obama's having a press conference tonight. (Grrr—pre-empting House.) I hope someone will ask him about the CBO report that predicts an end to the recession later this year in the absence of a "stimulus". "Mr. President, how does that match up with your hysterical fearmongering demands that the stimulus must pass nownownow?"

    Or the press might just ask him how his puppy search is going.

  • Megan McArdle quotes Will Wilkinson quoting Harvard econ prof Robert Barro on the "stimulus":
    This is probably the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930s. I don't know what to say. I mean it's wasting a tremendous amount of money. It has some simplistic theory that I don't think will work, so I don't think the expenditure stuff is going to have the intended effect. I don't think it will expand the economy. And the tax cutting isn't really geared toward incentives. It's not really geared to lowering tax rates; it's more along the lines of throwing money at people. On both sides I think it's garbage. So in terms of balance between the two it doesn't really matter that much.
    "Other than that, though, it's fine."

  • You might be amused by a new blog: The MPG Illusion, dedicated to the idea that looking at "gallons per mile" allows consumers to make better car-shopping decisions than "miles per gallon". Even though they measure the same thing. Examples:

    • "Replacing a car that gets 14 MPG with a car that gets 17 MPG saves as much gas for a given distance as replacing a car that gets 33 MPG with a car that gets 50 MPG."

    • "A 14 to 20 MPG improvement saves twice as much gas as a 33 to 50 MPG improvement."

    I've checked the math, and, if anything, they're understating their case. Counterintuitive but true!

  • Doug at GraniteGrok has pointed out this news story:
    Parents will always embarrass their children. However, this was taken to a whole new level when Cindy Schicho, mother of sophomore student Andrew Schicho, told every student at the University of Rhode Island that, "Unfortunately, or fortunately (however you want to look at it) Daddy makes too much to qualify for anything."
    … and now the Whole Wide World knows, too.

    What sent empathetic chills up my leg, though, was:

    "Somebody at URI has no idea what they're doing," Schicho said. "It's a little lame this was possible."
    Wince. It's rough to read that about a fellow university sysadmin. There but for the grace of God…

The Prisoner of Zenda

[Amazon Link] [4.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

Royal pageantry! Forbidden romance! Intrigue! Skullduggery! Bad wine! A castle complete with moat, drawbridge, dank dungeon, and a raft of evildoers! Gunplay! Swordplay! Knifeplay! Horseplay! Waltzing! Fishing! Please be sure your swashes are buckled.

The story: Brit Rudolf Rassendyll is off to Ruritania for a spot of fishing. But he's blissfully unaware that, thanks to a spot of royal indiscretion in the distant past, he's a dead ringer for the about-to-be King Rudolf V. The Rudolfs meet and carouse on the eve of the coronation, but soon the King falls victim to the insidious plot of his half-brother Michael; Rassendyll must impersonate the King to prevent the kingdom falling into the hands of the would-be usurper.

This is really a lot of fun. Ronald Coleman plays the two Rudolfs, C. Aubrey Smith and David Niven his loyal allies, and Madeleine Carroll plays gorgeous Princess Flavia, torn between true love and royal duty. Scheming Michael is played by Raymond Massey; he's assisted by Rupert of Hentzau (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.), a charming but murderous psychopath.

The flip side of the DVD has the 1952 version of the movie. I'll report back on that soon.


Last Modified 2012-10-08 7:49 PM EST