Mattress Shopping

I was buying a kids mattress yesterday. I took a casual tour of the store to see what the most expensive mattress was. $3599! Holy Belichick, that’s a lot! Me and the two-year old were dumbfounded.

Me: For that kind of money, this thing had better go down on me also!
Him: em.. meh! Scoo-bus! Daddy hide!

Links o’ Interest

Pat Buchanan nails it.

The dollar has plummeted in value, more so in Bush’s term than during any comparable period of U.S. history. Indeed, Bush is presiding over a worldwide abandonment of the American dollar. Is it all Bush’s fault? Nope.
The dollar is plunging because America has been living beyond her means, borrowing $2 billion a day from foreign nations to maintain her standard of living and to sustain the American Imperium.

All six Rocky movies in 5 seconds.

Holy cow. Flying humans.

Meet Sarah Carmen – 200 orgasms every day.

The mathematical basis of rap, or fun with Excel graphing. Just hilarious, for example:

Rhyme
debt

A key endorsement for the presidential race. Chuck Norris!

An amazing wedding dance.

Fantastic trick play in football. Works in college also!

David Brooks on Globalization

It’s a pleasure to read a David Brooks column and agree with it. He’s absolutely right, immigration and globalization are good things, and the USA is still number one by a long shot. Apart from his bizzare obsession with giving every idea cute names (was there any reason to coin “Dobbsianism”?), Brooks gives a great rundown of the big picture.

Hopefully in a future column he will talk about how globalization can be good for the USA as a whole, but bad for some people in it.

Mortality

I had my 20th high school reunion this week. Many of the things I’d like to blog about, I can’t, since a lot of the old high school gang reads Muttroxia. I’ll switch to one morbid train of thought, for one of the coldest posts I’ve ever written.

We’ve had four people from my class die, out of approximately 500. That’s an 0.8% death rate, over 20 years. That seems like it’s very low to me, so I tried to figure it out.

I looked at Social Security Administration data. I think if you divide the age=38 survival rate into the age=18 survival rate, that would mean the probability of surviving to 38 given that you had already made it to 18. I get 97.98% survival, or 2% death rate. Much higher than our 0.8%.

The CDC tables look similar, from them I get a number of 2.1%, that looks like a unisex cohort.

So our class is dying off more than 2 times slower than normal. Way to go!

Update: I’m told that the class size was closer to 525, and we have an unconfirmed fifth death. Let’s call it 1%. If anyone wants the list of the deceased, email me privately.

Bee Movie Review

Although I love Jerry Seinfeld, I was prepared to dislike this movie. The PR campaign had moved far past awareness and cleverness and into the realm of just-shut-up-already-I-get-it. And the first fifteen minutes of the movie looked like Antz with worse animation.

But I was wrong. It was quite funny. You can never forget you’re watching Jerry Seinfeld doing a bee character, but that’s OK. Jerry Seinfeld’s a lot funnier than a bee anyhow.

I watched the movie at the movie theater I worked at twenty years ago. As the lights came up, a sweet feeling came over me. It was the sweet sweet feeling of knowing it was someone’s else job to clean up all the crap my kids had spilled all over the floor.

I Can’t Wait for my Midlife Crisis

I can’t wait for my midlife crisis. I have a pretty conventional life. I want a motorcycle, the wife has firmly vetoed it. I’ve always wanted a Corvette, but instead we have 529 funds. Our big expense this year was a minivan.

If I’m having a midlife crisis, that’s my excuse to get all the cool stuff I want. Everyone knows that a midlife crisis makes people do crazy things. You don’t know what I could do. I could go wander Australia for six months. I could find me some hot young blonde mistress. When you look at it that way — building a recording studio in the basement, getting a sports car, entering the World Series of Poker — that doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Or at least that’s how I’m going to spin it to the wife.

What’s the earliest you can have a midlife crisis?

In Which I Appear in Playboy

Or at least some of my questions do.

A high school buddy of mine interviewed Pete Townshend via e-mail, and gave me the chance to submit some questions. The full interview is here, my buddy’s website is here. Below are my (somewhat edited) questions and his answers, with a couple comments.

Playboy.com: Some fans believe that you and your peers, like the Rolling Stones and Neil Young, are still turning out fantastic work that is being ignored by radio. Do you think there is any truth to that?

Townshend: I have no complaints about this. About six songs of ours were in the top 10 airplay charts in the U.S.A. for so long I think a lot of people got sick of them. Strangely, those six songs are now used a lot in movies and ads, probably because of their almost subliminal value in affecting the boomers who grew up with them. If they were on the radio they probably wouldn’t get used elsewhere, and those uses pay huge money to our record company and publishers — some of which reaches us, of course. When our music was on the radio we didn’t earn much from airplay. BMI executives just sent me loads of framed awards and went to the Bahamas on vacation.

Playboy.com: While you write the songs, we’ve heard that Roger often selects which ones go on the album. What happens to the ones you like that don’t make the cut? Do you have a favorite solo track that you presented to the Who, but they didn’t like?

Townshend: Right now, there are several songs left off the Who album which form part of the material for a theater musical in workshop called The Boy Who Heard Music. Roger doesn’t so much select what goes on the album as decides what he feels he can sing the best. He has often surprised me in his choices. On It’s Hard he took the vocal on “One Life’s Enough,” a song I had thought he wouldn’t touch because it was quite like a show tune. He did a great job. On Tommy we thought he would never be able to sing “See Me, Feel Me” simply because his voice was so gruff. One day he came in the studio and sang like a choirboy. He is full of surprises, always has been. One of my best songs is “Empty Glass.” The Who actually tried to record that for Who Are You and couldn’t crack it. It became the title song on my most successful solo album, and I still think it sums up the mood of the post-punk period of dissolution and self-immolation that characterized the fall of so many souls around me at that time.

Playboy.com: The last Who album, Endless Wire, features a lot of acoustic guitar picking, and more of it is in non-standard tunings. How do you feel your guitar playing has evolved over the course of your career?

Townshend: I’ve always worked on acoustic, and probably written most of my most well known songs on acoustic, rarely electric guitar. I think my cycling accident in 1991 was a point of change. My right wrist was smashed and has metal bars in it. I had to find a new way to play, both guitar and piano. I find it hard now to play drums, which I used to love. I didn’t intend to practice to become faster or more fluid or adept, I just wanted a new way to play. It turned out to be faster and more fluid, and I am more adept.

I was really hoping he would talk more about the tunings. I always find it dissapointing that so little of music journalism and interviewing is about the actual music. Why did you change keys here, why the horn section there, etc.?

Playboy.com: In the new film, we learn that you felt reenergized creatively after reuniting and touring in 1999. Do you still get a rush from performing in public?

Townshend: I am one of those strange performers that doesn’t get a rush on stage. Never have. I have come to relax and enjoy performing a little more than I used to. It’s not that I have never liked my job; it’s just that I have always felt it was a vocation, a fate I could not avoid. I’ve tried to get the best out of it, but often found it hard to enjoy. I’ve never been keen on groupies, drugs or the company of loutish men on tour. I am not a saint, or a snob, I just always wanted to live a good family life, and be classy and cool, like my elegant musician father. Twenty or 30 years ago I didn’t have the resources or knowledge to look after myself the way I can today. I am lucky. I don’t travel in tour buses, and I don’t travel alone. Now I am elegant and classy. My father would be proud of me.

Bull. You never get a rush on stage, my aunt Matilda. You have stated many times that your various addictions were at least partially trying to continue the high you got onstage, offstage. Get real. Maybe it’s not a rush anymore, but there’s no way to pretend that it never was.

Anyhow, that’s probably the closest I’ll get to meeting my musical idol. Come to think of it, probably the closest I’ll get to meeting a Playmate also. That’s a twofer!

As the Patriots Decimate Another Luckless Opponent

I went to bed with a few minutes left. We had been up by 46 points for a while. Apparently, a 45 point margin is when Belichick decided to lay back a little. The backup quarterback was put in, and they switched from almost exclusively passing to running virtually every play to run the clock out faster. It’s good to see that there is a point at which the Patriots put the guns away.

They are just awe-inspiring. Of our 10 wins, I’m guessing at least five have come against teams that everyone thought was good until they played us. Let’s see, the Jets, the Chargers, Cincinnati, the Redskins, the Bills. I don’t include Dallas or Indianapolis, both of which at least put up a good fight. These are teams that are touted as being strong, as having a shot to upset the Patriots, and then one after another they are humiliated. Just incredible.

Expensive Cars

I was at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week. While looking at some of the Lambroghinis and such, I had a fun conversation with a collegue about car prices. That led to this question.

How much money would you have to have before you would buy a car for $1,500,000? How about a $300,000 car?

How about it, what would it take for you?

Other random thoughts:
* Kia’s motto was “The Power to Surprise”. Let me tell you something, when I buy a new car the absolute last thing I want is a surprise.
* BMW has just launched their Series 1 car, aka the One. It stinks. I sat in it, and wanted to get right out. How do designers make an $80,000 car that doesn’t even feel nice to sit in?
* I still lust for a Maybach.

See Pat. See Pat Win. See Peyt. See Peyt Lose.

Random thoughts:

* That was a great game. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was nice to watch it with some Colts fans, it added some spice. It made it extra sweet when we won.
* What was going on with the Patriots tackling in the first half? We looked like a bunch of college players out there.
* Those pass interference calls were complete bull. Two defensive ones that never happened, and an offensive one for bonus. Just crazy. That’s why you play for homefield, your odds of getting friendly reffing are much better on your own turf.
* Joseph Addai is the real deal. Last season, I didn’t give him credit. He was running behind a great line, and defenses were overplaying the pass, I felt like I could have run for a few hundred yards. I’ve changed my tune, he’s a great runner.
* Belichick said that they changed their strategy after three quarters. Slowing down the game wasn’t working, so they turned it into a shootout. That appears to mean, throw it to Randy Moss every play and see what happens.
* “Our goal is to win the AFC East,” Brady said. “Being 9-0, hey, I’m as happy as anybody. But it doesn’t mean anything. Our goal isn’t to be 9-0, I promise you.” I suppose I get this viewpoint. You win the division to get the best seeding for the playoffs. It’s good mental discipline to not let yourself think too far ahead, and you don’t want the press writing how you disrespect the rest of the league. But c’mon. C’mon. I think it’s OK to look just a little bit past winning the AFC East. Right now, the Pats are 9-0. The Bills are 4-4. The East is already done my friend, already done. Shove some croutons in its rear and serve it for Thanksgiving.

Oh, by the way, the Celtics are 2-0.

Links o’ Interest

Sports links, a few hours before the big game:
How to be an insufferable New England sports fan

Adam Vinatieri : The life of a fieldgoal kicker (by Michael Lewis)

Now that is a hook and ladder play. Wow, 15 laterals.

And the usual stuff:
Homework stinks. It also doesn’t help learning or nuthin’. It’s not correlated with increased test scores, knowing more, better character, nuthin’. So why is it still assinged?

”Take a watch.. smash it with a hammer… put the pieces in a box.. shake it around… open the box… see what you get.. do you get a better watch?”
Maybe you do! Watch clock evolution in action

Is there really a placebo effect after all? How about the nocebo effect?

An expert on waterboarding answers, is it torture?

Check out #7
11 amazing pictures of planet Earth, taken from space. I loved number 7.

A map of the internet. Kind of amazing.

Internet stars are viral. Funny parody video for net geeks, to Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire.

Scott Adams has been a tear lately, one funny blog post after another. This one made me snort.