Monday, February 1, 2016

Election Entertainment

No, I'm not talking about the possibility that we could end up with Donald Trump as President.  Not only is that slightly scary, but it's really like having a national version of the Weird Uncle at Thanksgiving, and you're just glad all the windows are closed so that no one can hear his rants.

This one is a record, the one Bernie Sanders made when Mayor of Burlington.  It's one of those things that's so bad it's good.  You can listen here, or buy it when Amazon gets more of the CDs.  Yeah, the CD is actually temporarily out of stock.

Monday, November 30, 2015

At Least One Girl Works at Google

The Anne of the Green Gables series is probably the most gender-defined of any book series.  Every girl in the English-speaking world has read them.  There aren't five boys who have read them, and not a one would admit it.  But today's Google Doodle recognizes the author of the series, Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Oh, and J is 67 today.  We'll be going out to dinner tomorrow, as he has Geezers With Guitars tonight.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Does Amazon Understand Its Business Model?

This morning's paper reports that Amazon will no longer sell video-streaming products from Apple and Google.  Now if Amazon were brick-and-mortar that might make sense. You might decide "oh, hell, I'm here and I might as well get this, rather than drive across town for Apple."  But that's not how Internet purchasing works.  Finding another product is a matter of opening another window and going to another site.  I'm still sitting on the sofa.  Isn't that the whole idea of Amazon?  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Can the Greek government be as incompetent as it seems?  Uh, if you've decided to force your creditors to negotiate with you by defaulting, prepare for the consequences up front. Be clear with people about what it means.  And share the pain equitably.  Learn from the Cuban crisis of the early 1990s, probably the worst collapse in any country since the Great Depression.

I want Greece to win this one--I really do.  Greece is standing in for all of the other people who got screwed in the Great Recession.  Ireland, for instance, stupidly decided to take on the debt of their private banks. Spain, which is selling off its social housing to Goldman and Blackstone. The US tenants who had to deal with Deutsche Bank, the worst of a bad lot. And of course, all of the people who lost their homes and jobs because banks couldn't behave themselves.

And an actual economist sent me to this, in case anyone has forgotten how often Germany has reneged on its debts.

One other note: it occurs to me that the investor purchases of rental housing post-recession isn't that much different from the securitization of mortgages, in that rental housing has become an important source of profit for the financial sector.  Just as housing equity was the only money left in the real economy in the bubble period, now rent payments have taken their place.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Americans should not feel proud that the Confederate flag is being removed from various government buildings.  Americans should be ashamed that, more than a century after the end of the Civil War, that flag hangs anywhere other than the basement bedroom of someone named Bubba.  Not only does it decorate any number of government buildings in the former Confederate States, but it appears on license plates, t-shirts, coffee mugs and so on.  If we were a decent people, the Confederate flag would have about the same status as the Nazi swastika.

In other news, I've decided to have Facebook friends.  Up to now, I've just used Facebook to play games and keep up on organizations I'm interested in.  I sent two friend requests, and nearly cried when one took a couple of hours to respond, so I'll wait for others to friend me.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Belated Happy Birthday to Me

Most people don't forget to note their own birthdays, but I am not most people.  Not only that, it's one of those "milestone" birthdays (60) that generally involve a fancy trip or dinner out or something.  J cooked dinner, but we put off going out until my knees were better and I could have trout.

And so I don't screw up again, J and I will celebrate our second 34th anniversary on the 9th.  I don't want an opal, so I may buy myself something in amethyst--the 33rd anniversary gift.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sacramento Does Important Service to Art World

Most of the country does not know that Sacramento's City Council voted to pay money for a Jeff Koons piece, Coloring Book 4, which will permanently reside in front of the new basketball arena, which also received a bunch of public money.  Now I have to say that I have the same reaction to Jeff Koons that I do to David Salle and Julian Schnabel, that they came into being with Ronald Reagan and reflect that time--really big art, really expensive art, not requiring much thought on the part of those who buy it.  Like many other cultural phenomena of that period--belief in welfare queens, cutting social services, getting involved in stupid wars--Koons has hung around long past his "sell by" date.

Sacramento may be helping this along.  Trends come here to live on--many of them long beyond the time they've died out in more interesting places.  So getting a Koons may be bad for us, but the best thing for art in a very long time.