Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Years

Here's wishing everyone a healthy, happy, and exciting 2006. May it be better in all ways than 2005.

Hogmanay \hog-muh-NAY; HOG-muh-nay\, noun:
The name, in Scotland, for New Year's Eve, on which children
go about singing and asking for gifts; also, a gift, cake, or
treat given on New Year's Eve.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Rowling Ponders Last Harry Potter

From the New York Times:

J. K. Rowling is facing 2006 with trepidation. It is "the year when I write the final book in the Harry Potter series," she said in a posting on her Web site, "I contemplate the task with mingled feelings of excitement and dread, because I can’t wait to get started, to tell the final part of the story and at last to answer all the questions (will I ever answer all of the questions? Let’s aim for most of the questions); and yet it will all be over at last and I can’t quite imagine life without Harry." She said, "I have been fine-tuning the fine-tuned plan of seven during the past few weeks so that I can really set to work in January." No title or date of publication was given for the final installment of the adventures of the boy wizard, whose six volumes have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Good Words to Live By

Admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter accusations.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Taxes Taxes Taxes

Estate taxes. Wealthy people who care about their heirs literally don't want to get caught dead in 2005. The rewards for surviving until 2006 arrives are handsome. First, the basic exclusion from the federal estate tax jumps to $2 million from $1.5 million for 2005. Next, the top federal rate declines to 46% from 47%.

Gift tax. For the first time since 2002, the annual gift-tax exclusion will increase -- an important point for wealthy people to consider as part of their estate-planning strategy. The exclusion will rise to $12,000 for 2006 from $11,000 this year. That means you can give away as much as $12,000 next year to anyone you wish -- and to as many people you wish -- without having to report it to the Internal Revenue Service. There is no limit on the total amount you can distribute.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Evolution, Theories, Laws, and Terrorists

For some reason, a popular discussion has evolved under the WSJ post of several days ago. It is one that I find quite interesting and have enjoyed reading over the past several days. Because it is under a post that has little relevancy to its own subject matter, many readers may not have noticed it. So that everyone may be able to read this ongoing exchange, I am re-posting the discussion, in its entirety, below. Enjoy.

sbs-304 said...

here's a cool thing, because all i do is bitch and moan:

21 Ways To Be A Good Liberal

1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support
abortion on demand.

2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and
governments create prosperity.

3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding
Americans are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the
hands of Chinese and North Korean communists.

4. You have to believe that there was no art before Federal

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected
by cyclical documented changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being
homosexual is natural.

[...and so, on...all the way up to 21 - You get the point]

Anonymous said...

These are good points but just as many hypocritical things are wrong with the republican party.
PLus democrats acknowledge science which republicans dont. LIke evolution. It may be 'just a theory' but so is gravity. ITs a fact that it exists. Republicans are just too narrow minded to realize it.
Merry Christmas!!!

Anonymous said...

Evolution= Theory
Gravity= Law

Open a science book.

The term "theory" still indicates significant scientific support of the idea. Infact, most "conservatives" wouldn't argue the theory of evolution. Being a theory however, there should be more than one side presented.

Don't confuse the the LAW of gravity with the THEORY of evolution. One is undeniable, the other has not been significantly proven false.

Republicans don't deny science. We know that it is a scientific fact that when a bomb is dropped on terrorists, they cease to terrorize.

How's that for science?

Anonymous said...

Its a matter of symantics. Since it is impossible to prove that the entire universe is subjected to the same "Law of gravity" it is impossible to prove it is a universal law.
Secondly, the only reson evolution is 'only a theory' is because it cannot be reproduced in a labratory situation since it takes millions of years to take place. I like listening to people like you. I have a friend who told me one time, "You know, Christian science is making huge strides in proving evolution to be a faulted theory." He cited the bible a couple of times and even gave a me a christian science magazine with a cover article about evolution. Inside a scientist examined fossils (none of which are more then 4000 years old of course) and discuses how dinosaur fossils were placed there by God to fool 'unbeleivers' (like me i guess).
I, personally, just think thats absurd. Now this of course is coming from a non practicing christian. I have absolutely no problem with people beleiving in Intelligent Design. My problem is how people want science classes to teach it, not because i am fundementally against it, but because it is simply not science. You seem to know what you're talking about so you'd have to agree. There is absolutely no scientific proof of itelligent design. There is no observable evidence. Simply put, there is no scientific basis for intelligent design.

And lastly, those terrorists who are bombed cease to terrorize, i doubt anybody even a flaming liberal (Even guy who is from Massachussets and probably gay) wouldn't disagree with that. However the terrorists children won't.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Some Christmas Cheer

Below is a fine recipe for delicious eggnog which may be enjoyed during this time of the year.

6 Large eggs
3/4 c Sugar
1 1/2 c Brandy
1/2 c Rum
4 c Milk
4 c Cream
1/2 c Icing sugar
Nutmeg to sprinkle

Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. Beat the yolks slowly while simultaneously adding the sugar; do this until the mixture is pale and golden. Now slowly add in the brandy and rum, then beat in the milk and half the cream.

Set aside until just before serving, then whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the eggnog mixture. Whip the remaining cream and icing sugar until thick. Top each glass of eggnog with whipped cream and a shake of nutmeg. This yields eight servings.

- And here is a link a good friend just showed me, for some nice, spiced wine. He wanted me to make sure to include: add a sliced lemon and sliced orange, and a 1/4 cup of honey, simmer, and drink

WSJ Econoblog

In today's Wall Street Journal online edition, the econoblog features an all time favorite economics professor of mine, Dr. John-Charles Bradbury, discussing the market for relief pitchers in this year's off-season. Also joing in the blog is Dr. Raymond Sauer, a terrific economist from Clemson University, who I was lucky enough to hear at a lecture last year. Both men are very interested in economics applied to sports, and in this conversation, particularly baseball.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Yankees Add Damon to their Lineup

It seems that every off-season the Yanks pick up some huge name(s) - such as Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, just to name a few. So, it should be of relatively little surprise that they will be loading up again this year with Boston Red Sox star Johnny Damon, who reportedly will be paid $52 million, over four years.

To look at his salary a little closer, that is a $1 million a month, plus a million dollar bonus, each year. To break it down even further, assume he works 40 hours a week for 50 weeks in a year - he's making $6,500 an hour. Or how about this... for each game he plays (162 regular season games), he will earn $80,246.91.

So, the big question now is, with another enormous investment, are Steinbrenner's Yankees going to win the World Series in '06?

NYC Transit Strike

Let me begin my admitting, I don't know a whole lot about this, as I have never lived in New York, and only visited a couple times. That being said, this strike, strikes me as being rather ridiculous. (pardon the abundant alliteration) What TWU is asking for, in retirement benefits, seems unreasonable, and they are demonstrating an amazing inability to compromise. As a result, getting to work is incredibly difficult for people, and the city is losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

- Here is a Guide to Commuting, using Google Maps. (note: its through the New York Times, so a subsciption may be necessary)

- Also, this is a very cool site - another Google Maps application - that has live video of NYC using their traffic cameras. This is pretty neat.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush's Spy Deal

Below is a cartoon which I feel nicely sums up the whole Bush/NSA spy story.

Sorry its so small - that's the best I could get. If you can't read the cartoon, it basically says that the Times waited to publish this story until a time when it could overshadow the news of Iraq's successful election.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

An Early UK Christmas Present

UK convincingly beat Louisville yesterday afternoon, and really brought back some optimisim to the Bluegrass.