Saturday, April 1, 2006
Situation: you're down 6-4 coming into the merge. You've first screwed this up by not offering anyone in the other tribe a better deal than what they've already got. But you do have the hidden immunity idol, which you can wield at Tribal Council to eliminate someone from the other tribe and make it a 5-4 (with Bruce sway-able) -- but that's only if you can first lure the other group int voting for you. He's clearly the alpha male target, so that's not a problem. What is? Dumbass macho boy from Simsbury up and wins immunity -- the only thing that could've screwed up the plan. Result: his idol remains in the holster and that one of his few allies is eliminated.
So now he's down 6-3, and Miss Alli is right -- without an interesting narrator like Rahb or Fireman Tom, this game can be really boring when played correctly. And Shane's just not that interesting. He's loathsome, and not in a fun way.
Anyone else watching this season?
Read with interested your missive of this date w/r/t corporate adoption and write to inquire about your impression of the possible applications of means-testing to social relations generally.
Assume your application vis the proposal for direct corporate investment in families/children would proceed on the basis of $X / year necessary per child (ratably reduced for kids 2, 3, 4 to account for sunk-costs, of course) and that compulsory acceptance of funds would apply only to families found Y% short of responsible income levels for offspring they’ve accrued. Brilliant! Keeps investigative costs to a minimum. Can simply have the IRS determine eligibility annually on a gross-adjusted income basis.
But what is suggested hereby is a much broader opportunity not only to leverage corporate finance principles to the end of social welfare, but to expand significantly and responsibly our cherished personal freedoms.
Recent years have seen considerable kerfuffle about the institution of marriage and non-traditional configurations thereof clamoring for official legal recognition therein. If you put aside, for the moment, what I assume to be your position on such subjects, and recognize with me that the State’s essential interest in the institution has to do with the consequences of privileging at law the promise of two people to take care of one another, you will see that gender drops quite out of the picture.
Furthermore, under a means-tested regime, the admittedly tedious (even, at times, for the most conservative) adherence to monogamous pairings could also be easily discarded.
Simply put, the promise of one individual to take care of another is not to be taken lightly. (As the basis of your argument seems to concede.) The promise of an individual to take care of more than one other, is incrementally less plausible. But modern economic modeling (as you must admit your proposal to suggest) allows us to determine how much less plausible to a statistically significant degree of certainty. It is, in short, (as you suggest) bankable.
Why not accordingly afford the privileges of the marital estate to all such polymorphous polygamous combinations as, on a statistical basis, demonstrate the capacity to vouchsafe each others’ well-being on a going-forward basis?
Very truly etc,
Well, that vision dies a little bit more tonight, as the Hoosier State, having already failed in its efforts to alter the ratio between a circle's circumference and diameter, tonight will abandon the concept of 2:30am on the first Sunday of April, mindlessly conforming with most other states in acceding to Benjamin Franklin's risky daylight savings scheme.
Warning to Newfies: they're going to take away your half-hour if you're not vigilant.
Conservatives – fiscal and social alike – have always known that America’s strength lies in its commitment to core values: family, industry, moral health and free markets. Active exercise of these values works a kind of alchemy in our great land, constantly presenting unique opportunities for principled individuals to achieve limitless empowerment through cultivation and application of their skills and moral qualities on the increasingly level (if endlessly complex) playing-field of modern market capitalism. Once that is understood, answers to lingering social ills become apparent in innovative applications of our already successful values system. Failing schools, single parenthood, child poverty and juvenile crime will all be ameliorated incrementally as we intensify – and further integrate! – our nation’s parallel commitments to family values and corporate rights.
For example, by means-testing family expansion and encouraging corporate sponsorship of promising individuals or family combinations, we can place strong incentives for moral responsibility and simultaneously bring the dynamism of the market directly to bear on the future of America: our children. Raising children properly is expensive for a family. Raising them improperly is expensive for society as a whole. When individual American families are permitted or compelled to turn to America’s corporate family for such financial assistance they may need to raise their children responsibly, everyone involved will benefit (provided that the arrangement is structured to provide adequate assurance of a reasonable return on investment and adequate recourse in the event of default).
Corporate adoption – whether implemented outright (as a recognition of full guardianship following properly instituted parental termination proceedings), or through support and sponsorship mechanisms that allow children to remain in their biological homes (repayable grants or debentures issued for child-rearing expenses, for example, or a discounted securitization of future wages to offset the cost of programs and benefits provided to indigent youth) – shows great promise for providing much-needed social resources as well as increased oversight on how those resources are expended.
I hope, in the days and weeks to come, to provide more insight into the promise that a corporate adoption regime offers for the increasingly bright future of this great nation, and trust that you will all join me in a spirited debate on the most promising aspects of such a system, as well as its potential pitfalls.
Those of us who've been following the issue since the 2003 hearings recognize that the Southern Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act of 1982 had yet to be fully implemented; now, thankfully, these matters are resolved for both them and the people of Tucson. It's a lot better solution than rescinding the Gadsden Purchase and starting from scratch, I hope.
What impressed me most were the depth and breadth of Mariah Carey's observations about how we might be able to use tax policy to combat poverty. Our world would clearly be a better place if more members of Congress possessed her wisdom in that regard.
Friday, March 31, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Well, that was certainly not a problem this week. I need to rewatch the episode, basically now, to catch all the details, but this was cringeworthy/good. "That was the saddest funeral ever. That and my sister's." Pam/Jim and Dwight/Angela. The More You Know. Wow.
Well, it's also been a long time since the original Basic Instinct, a comedy I greatly enjoy, and sometimes you have to shoot the fish in the barrel, because there's just so many fish:
Guardian UK: It is difficult to convey just how uproariously awful this movie is, all of the time. The original's complications had their own messy allure: this one is just muddled and silly. Sharon is haughtily jaded; there is nothing in the script to release her natural fizz; where once there was danger and mischief, there is now only a kind of dyspepsia, and the script by Leora Barish and Henry Bean gives no perspective on what Catherine might be like as an older woman.
Arizona Republic: [T]he entire film is hollow. It also commits the grave sin of psychological thrillers: heavy on psychology, light on thrills. Basic Instinct had a twisting plot that kept viewers guessing. The only thing you'll be guessing about here is why you spent $9 to see this. Even the sex scenes, obviously designed to shock, are merely gratuitous nods to the original. Nothing in Basic Instinct 2 works, unless you're seeing Stone with her clothes off. Trust your basic instinct and avoid the worst sequel since Staying Alive.
LA Times: With "Basic Instinct 2," the "Basic Instinct" franchise (who saw it coming?) enters its unhinged rococo phase. Set in a carefully curated London, abstracted and glamorized to a fare-thee-well, the new movie makes the original Verhoeven-Eszterhas collaboration look positively Hellenic. It's just that fancy. Every surface is buffed, shiny, unbelievably expensive — including Sharon Stone herself, who, should the situation arise, could double as her own limited edition action figure. . . . Watching Stone slink along with a diabolical smirk frozen on her face, trailing bodies and clichés, is not, however, without its pleasures. What we may very well be looking at here is another "Showgirls," a drag camp-fest for the "Baby Jane" crowd, fabulous fodder for future cabaret acts, and a pleasure probably best enjoyed in a crowd — preferably a vocal one. Dead serious and stone idiotic, the only basic instinct in evidence here is desperation.
San Jose Mercury News: Her new playmate is a perpetual "duh'" short of being Michael Douglas, star of the original picture and an actor whose sexual charge is sorely missed here. Caught in Tramell's web, Glass' fly is open to the operatic mind game she has in store for him. But in the clammy hands of a Liam Neeson knockoff named David Morrissey, he has the irradiated sexuality of a potato.
NYT: Certainly this has to be the only film from those reliable schlockmeisters Mario F. Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna — Mr. Kassar brought us the original Basic Instinct, and together they had a hand in much of Sylvester Stallone's well-oiled oeuvre — to feature the word Lacanian.
Namedropping an abstruse school of psychoanalytic theory probably seemed terribly clever at one point; given this film, however, it's grounds for screenwriting hell.
Ebert: I cannot recommend the movie, but ... why the hell can't I? Just because it's godawful? What kind of reason is that for staying away from a movie? . . . The Catherine Tramell role cannot be played well, but Sharon Stone can play it badly better than any other actress alive. The director, Michael Caton-Jones, alternates smoldering closeups with towering dominatrix poses, and there's an extended Jacuzzi sequence in which we get the much-advertised full frontal nudity -- which does not, somehow, manage to be full, frontal and nude all at the same time. First a little nude, then a little full, then a little frontal, driving us crazy trying to load her simultaneously onto our hard drive. . . . "Basic Instinct 2" is not good in any rational or defensible way, but not bad in irrational and indefensible ways.
In the words of critic Jay Sherman, "It in-stinks!" Let us know if you find more.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
...now there's a link that should set the site-meter spinning, despite being safe for work.
And so we move on: what is the level of interest here in a rotisserie baseball league? Given the difficulty in coordinating everyone's schedules at this point, a live draft would be difficult to pull off, but I could certainly set up an ESPN multi-list league and have us ready to go by Opening Day. If you're interested, let me know in the Comments.
edited twice to add: We are set up. If you're interested, click here to sign up for a free team on Sportsline, and then find us using the following info:
You've got until the end of Sunday to set up your draft lists. Please join us, and good luck.
League Name: A League About Things Thrown
Player Universe: NL-only
Draft Type: Multi-List (rank by each position)
Draft Date: Mon, Apr 3
Scoring Type: Rotisserie
Stat Type: 5x5
Private Password: muktuk
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
So for me, tonight was a night of Haves and Have-Mehs. Haves: Paris, Daughtry, Katharine, and -- for the first time ever -- Elliott. Have-Mehs: Lisa (bye), Bucky (fine, but never all that exciting, and tonight was no exception), Ace (big oogies for pointing at the scar during the scar part of the song), and Kellie ("tear in my beer" country is never a big draw for me). Mandisa and Taylor are kind of on the fence between the two. I don't see how Lisa makes it past tonight -- she's been in the bottom three for a while, and this performance did nothing to save her.
I have decided that I want to hear Daughtry sing "Home Sweet Home" or "Sister Christian." True to his style (sorta), but different from the identical performances he's been giving every week regardless of the week's theme. How do you think he can change it up without sounding silly?
I'm not all the way through this week's installment yet, but 2 1/2 episodes in, I remain intrigued. I don't know what others were expecting from the show, but I find it to be an interesting view into something perhaps ultimately incomprehensible. Why did this woman agree to be a part of this relationship? What are they doing here? How does this work, exactly? It's more than a little voyeuristic, but so far it's kind of gripping.
Does anyone besides me like this show?
Monday, March 27, 2006
Having poached the link above from Josh Marshall I shall now write 100 times "This is not a political blog. This is not a political blog. This is not..."
First, a specific question. How the heck is Havre de Grace (Maryland) pronounced? I can't imagine it gets the full French accent, which strikes me as a little excessive -- Av-ruh de Grrrrrahhhhhhce? But is it actually something like Have-da-Grace? Help me out here, folks.
This second one is more of a quandary for the ages: I-95 supposedly is a single road that takes one from Florida to Maine, right? So why is it that around Philadelphia, it is in fact two separate, distinct, and unconnected roads? Mr. Cosmo could not for the life of him figure out why we were not driving past Philadelphia en route to DC. "Because we're not on 95." "But we are on 95!" "No, Philadelphia's bit of 95 is a separate strip of road that is not connected to the rest of 95." (Fortunately for a couple of clubgoing Jersey girls who cornered us at a rest stop at the NJ/Delaware border trying to figure out why taking 95 South from Wherever-They-Live, North Jersey, hadn't gotten them to the Vine Street Expressway en route to Market Street, I as a native Philly girl was able to explain the problem and give them directions back to the land of the formerly-tall William Penn.) I have to think that zillions of people get lost due to this little rip in the space-time continuum.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
On the plus side, we did get our laughs along the way, and we certainly have a better sense of where this is going. But, still, after an initial two episodes that took us places we hadn't quite been before, this was . . . less great.
I don't remember any run quite this cool since Cleveland State in 1986.