Kevin->Write(thoughts, browser, time)
void Kevin::Write(char *thoughts, char *browser, int time) allows an object of the Kevin class to create printed english text. The function opens a blogger account (automatically associated with the particular Kevin object) using the web browser resouce identified by browser, and while time > 0 and interrupts are disabled, uses blogger to translate thoughts into text.
Monday, December 27, 2004
On America: The Book
I received two copies of America: The Book for Christmas, and I've gotta say that I'm a bit disappointed. I like the Daily Show quite a lot, but I think that Dave Barry did a much finer, funnier job of lampooning American history and political process in Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort Of History of the United States , which came out ten years ago and somehow feels much less dated.
I requested only two things when my dad asked me what I would like for Christmas: the third season of the West Wing on DVD, and the 2005 edition of Basketball Prospectus. I didn't get either, for one reason or another, but I did get many other fine gifts, including a watch, a calendar, some earmuffs, and two scarves. Apparently, someone I know thought that I was cold and late, so I resolve to be warmer and more punctual in 2005.
Are you ever going to get in contact with me or Tim, so I can buy a plane ticket to wherever for new years? The clock is ticking. Tick. Tick.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
You gotta fight back
Every afternoon at my job, one of our customers faxes us a list of glass parts which we have to check price and stock on and fax back. This isn't so bad, except for two things: He never, EVER buys anything, and often, the list will have the same parts on it for weeks at a time (the prices on our windshields change approximately never). If you're counting, this adds up to a double helping of time-waste. On Thursday, I decided to sow some confusion. At the top of the list of parts, for the third day in a row, was DW01341, which is a windshield for late 90's Chysler/Dodge sedans. I had already sent him the price and availibility on this part twice, on the previous two days. Today, after writing in the right information, I made a note next to the part number. It read, "NOTE, price change since yesterday: $0.00." I circled and underlined the "$0.00" part, for emphasis. He called later in confusion, but luckily he didn't talk to me.
I like to listen to the Paul Harris show on my way home from work, and at the end of every week they have the Harris Challenge, which involves people calling in to answer trivia questions. If you get enough of them right, you get minor league free stuff like movie tickets. If you get them wrong, he punishes you with terrible music. I call in every week but I never get through. This past thursday, I got through! and was put on hold. The last question that Paul asked was from the Grinch: How old is Cindy Lou Who? I had no clue, and he was flipping though people who didn't know the answer at lightning speed. I was afraid that I would look dumb on local radio, but he didn't get to me before someone finally got it right. Do you know the answer? It's two, she was only two. True story, boring but true.
Triple Double for Lebron tonight? He's one rebound away. Also, they're losing to the freaking 2-20 Hornets. At home. Christ.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
We went shopping in the morning, Alison Jeanne and I did, and we got various things for various people. Christmas shopping has always been an activity that I've enjoyed, despite my general aversion to shopping. I have a sort of complex about spending money on myself: I always feel guilty buying non-necessities, as though I should be paying bills or feeding the children or something with all of my money. As most of you know, this complex does not apply to food. But during the holiday season, I'm throwing money at other people so it disappears, and I like to take time to find good gifts for the family. Alison was pretty and I had my pretty new coat on and there were lots of other pretty people running around the mall, and festive decorations, and a brass quintet playing the favorites, and it was just a nice time.
We went ice skating, the first time that I had been outdoors and the first time since I've been rollerblading so regularly. It's a fantastic amount of fun to shimmy back and forth, bleeding off speed to circle Alison. To glide around a little faster than the crowd and weave in and out and around (and fall spectacularly, as I did once). To be competent, which breeds confidence, which breeds not lurking around the edge of the rink like a clumsy goon. The wind was brisk and more festive music was playing. If it was snowing it would have been perfect.
We went to Pizzeria Uno for dinner and discussed our adjustment to poverty. My first loan payment is due on Tuesday, as is the cell phone bill, and rent soon enough, and I need gas, and a hundred bucks or so evaporated on gifts today. I've always had so much money laying around from mowing lawns in the summer that I never had to worry about it...going to dinner when you know you can't really afford it gave me a queasy feeling.
(Segue) Mr. James had the worst game of his young career on Thursday, in what was coincidentally the only game that I'll be able to see until January 8th. Tonight they lost in overtime to Boston at home, bringing their record to 14-10. They are easily the most average team in basketball. Lebron leads the All Star voting among Eastern Conference guards.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Click on that link above and read that article before you go any further.
Ok, now...wait a second. You didn't read it, did you? Go on, it's not too long. I'll wait.
"When people willingly enter into a fair trade--assuming they have proper information and are acting rationally--everyone involved is better off. Therefore, the more fair trades that a given society encourages, the more prosperous the society becomes."
The reality is that there is no such thing as a fair trade. Someone always wins and someone always loses. We have a word to describe people who win lots of trades: billionaires. People who tend to lose trades are the homeless. A good rule of thumb for figuring out whether you won or lost a trade is whether you wound up with product or money at the end of it. If you have a product, you probably just lost the trade. Buy a new car, drive it off the lot, try to sell it to someone else, and you'll only be able to recoup one fourth to one third of what you paid for it. If you have money, you probably won the trade, because money is flexible. If I sell you my Diet Coke for fitty cent, I can get a newspaper or two gumballs or another Diet Coke, really easily. You're stuck with the soda, unless you are very lucky or spend time and effort on finding someone who needs the Coke. Furthermore, even if there were such things as fair trades, you can't wait around for them. I make 8.50 an hour, and I know goddamned well that I'm worth more to my employer then that in terms of replacement costs, skill, and efficiency, but the job market is tight and I have to take what I can get so I don't starve to death.
"Someone else may end up better off thanks to your tax dollars, but it's a zero-sum game. Whatever gains are enjoyed by the recipient(s) of your money is directly offset by your loss of that money."
Everyone benefits from taxes, in terms of government services and programs, and everyone pays taxes, so the article's point regarding taxes as a zero sum game is incorrect. Sure, some people benefit more and some people benefit less, but that's not any different from private transactions, which are just as unequal.
"Although an income tax seems like a confiscation of your money, it is really a confiscation of your time. After all, you earn your income by sacrificing your time."
Well, not always. Bill Gates might make a million dollars a day if Microsoft stock goes up. He'll make that million dollars whether he spends ten hours at the office or goes to the beach. You don't become a billionaire by working for a billion dollars; you become a billionaire by working for a million dollars and investing well. Most rich people earn the vast majority of their wealth from capital gains. It's true that me and most people earn income by sacrificing time, but the article is arguing against our graduated tax that takes the most money from the richest people. A graduated tax doesn't hurt the masses, it helps us by allowing the greater community of poorer Americans to reap greater benefits on the backs of the richest folk. It is a great, enlightened societal good for Mr. Gates to be taxed from 40 to 38 billion dollars to pay for the education, defense, transportation, and health care of a million or so Americans. If a flat tax is high enough that we can maintain our standards of services, the poorer half of Americans can't afford to pay them and live. If a flat tax is low enough for the poorer half of Americans to pay them and live, we won't have enough money to maintain our standards of services.
It's a Post(!)
Clint Theory #10692-A regarding the high mortality rate for blogs with a working parent is looking truer and truer, unless truer is not a word, in which case it is looking more and more true.
I have selected my final list of PhD. philosophy programs, presented in semi-order of relative goodness from best to worst:
Cal-Berkeley, Arizona, Wisconsin, Georgetown are all pretty much the same goodness.
Washington University of St. Louis and THE Ohio State University are about the same as well.
Closer is an excellent movie that you should see.
Oh, also, I'm a long term temporary CSR for an auto parts distributor. If I may, I'll just quote Dr. Steven Vogel rather than say any more on this subject at this time:
"Customer service rep at an auto parts distributor is of course also a great way to spend one's life, right up there with teaching philosophy. So you're in a win/win situation, the way I see it."
Cavs are 11-6 and well on their way to beating bad teams and losing to good ones and matching my prediction. Salud!
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