Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Somewhat live

and mostly awake, I blog from the left coast. Sunny sort of downtown Bellingham, WA, home of Western Washington U. and Mrs. Skinny's parents. Part of the year. On no apparent snowbird-type schedule.

Either way, we are here, a bit unslept but mostly sound. We have a trip to Victoria, BC planned for tomorrow & thursday, and a trip out to the wilds of central WA for the weekend and a not really official family reunion with the cousins spread across this great state.

Other than the usual complications of kosher food - we stocked up in Seattle and will have to make do with it for the rest of the trip - it's nice to be here, be with family, and not going to work.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Road to hell

is paved with "clunkers"

More Cash for Clunkers III

I'm overwhelmed sometimes by the unintended consequences of most liberal policies. The intended consequences are usually bad enough, but then comes the collateral damage. Let's briefly examine a f'rinstance:

  • Bob is unemployed
  • Bob has no car
  • Bob gets a job interview for a decent but not high-paying job
  • Bob get a ride to the interview
  • Bob aces the interview
  • Bob is offered the job
  • Bob cannot take the job, because he can't afford any of the cars that remain available for sale
  • Bob remains unemployed

See, in this universe where we remove something like 1% of the cars on the road, for little noticeable effect on either environment or gas prices, we are removing 99% of the cars that the poor can afford. Meaning they remain poor.

Look, sue me, it's a straw man. But as most people recognize, there's a lot more to an economy than meets the eye. It's not a set of rules to be imposed from on high (see Stalin-era 5-year plans, etc.), but a series of very small localized transactions. You can't just decree this stuff, you have to let it happen naturally or it won't happen at all. And when it doesn't happen, strange ripples begin to occur.

Monday, August 03, 2009


So me & Mrs. Skinny decided we were due new cellphones. It being several years since the last upgrade, and us finding out they've replaced the old rotary kind with these push-button jobbies.

A word about me & technology, specifically mobile technology - I'm not so into it. In fact I resisted getting cellphone for a few years, on the theory there was no one I wanted to talk to that badly. I gave in eventually, and it has proved to be a lifesaver for that vital human function - grocery shopping. List or no list, I can now call Mrs. Skinny twelve times in 6 minutes to ask what I forgot.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a wannabe geek with a great interest in technology & putting it to good use. I just don't see the value to watching Lord of the Rings extended version on a 2 inch screen, with or without director's commentary. Even if it means I can have my hobbits anytime, anywhere. Texting is another mystery to me - why the heck would I want to communicate in eight word, poorly spelled bursts?

So the plan for new phones was simple. Mrs. wanted something she could text on as she dips her toe into the sore thumb universe, and I wanted a nothing phone. Let me make a phone call and I'm pretty happy. We check out the offerings at what passes for Ma Bell these days, and I find a nothing phone. For free, as they often do. OK, I'm good, what about Mrs?

She goes to the store, checks it out, and identifies something a little higher rent with a slide out keyboard. We finally get to the website, plunk mine in the cart, and we're poking around a bit more before pulling the trigger. So it turns out the one Mrs. wanted was no longer available. By the time we sort it all out, the higher-end version of the one she wanted is now free. And the cheapo I was looking at - is now $30? How does that happen in less than five minutes?

Needless to say, cheap wins out over simple every time. So we are both the proud owners of the Pantech Matrix Pro with its accompanying doodads. I can't find half the stuff on it, much less use it. But I must admit - I just synced it up with my work calendar, and it was a breeze. Which I think is very cool, and I will now know my schedule wherever else I am.

I'm still not texting - you can't make me.