Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy 2007!!!

Auld Lang Syne - Robert Burns

SHOULD auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to min'?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' lang syne?

We twa hae rin about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl't i' the burn,
Frae mornin' sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.

And here 's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine;
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

Read more about this Scottish poem here.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Walk It Out - Happy Feet Style

ignoramus \ig-nuh-RAY-mus\, noun:
An ignorant person; a dunce.

My "perfect" reader is not a scholar but neither is he an ignoramus; he does not read because he has to, nor as a pastime, nor to make a splash in society, but because he is curious about many things, wishes to choose among them and does not wish to delegate this choice to anyone; he knows the limits of his competence and education, and directs his choices accordingly.
-- Primo Levi, "This Above All: Be Clear", New York Times, November 20, 1988

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Lazy Sunday

Over at The Mint Julep we never get tired of seeing Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg do Lazy Sunday. Enjoy, folks.

Watch That Weight

Its mighty difficult not to get fat over the holidays with all the eating, drinking, sleeping, and lounging around. It wold be interesting to know the aggregate total, in the United States, of all pounds gained during this week.

Monday, December 25, 2006

wassail \WAH-sul; wah-SAYL\, noun:

1. An expression of good wishes on a festive occasion, especially in drinking to someone.
2. An occasion on which such good wishes are expressed in drinking; a drinking bout; a carouse.
3. The liquor used for a wassail; especially, a beverage formerly much used in England at Christmas and other festivals, made of ale (or wine) flavored with spices, sugar, toast, roasted apples, etc.
4. Of or pertaining to wassail, or to a wassail; convivial; as, a wassail bowl.
5. To drink to the health of; a toast.
6. To drink a wassail.

Christmas often means plum pudding, fruitcake, roast goose and wassail.
-- Florence Fabricant, "Recipes to Summon the Holiday Spirit", New York Times, December 21, 1988

But have you ever tried to spear a buffalo after a hard night at theold wassail bowl?
-- Gore Vidal, The Smithsonian Institution

Some Christmas Cheer

I posted this last Christmas and think that it deserves a re-posting. 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.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Second Life

I just received an interesting e-mail concerning Second Life. Many of you all may have heard of this, but many of you probably have not. I had only been vaguely aware of this new internet phenomenon. For those of you who do not know, Second Life is one of several virtual worlds, and is probably the most successful. It first went online in 2003 and is modeled after the "metaverse." The metaverse is where computerized avatars--digital characters constructed to (usually) look like humans--interact. They buy and sell real estate, goods and services to each other; conduct classes; and give live entertainment concerts.

Second Life welcomed its one millionth resident in September of this year. Last week its residents topped 2,000,000. Three years to get the first million, then doubling in three months. That gives you some idea of its momentum

There is also an active currency exchange. Second Life's currency is the "Linden." (Linden Labs owns and operates Second Life.) The current rate of exchanges is approximately 270 Lindens to $1US. I have been discussing the viability of purchasing Lindens as an alternative investment.

Harvard Law School is teaching a class that can only be attended via Second Life, and IBM bought a massive piece of real estate where they built a 200 seat auditorium to house company meetings.

It will be very interesting to follow the evolution of Second Life, and see if it will be as prevalent in our culture as Google, YouTube, and

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas

This photo was taken of downtown Maysville, KY, and brings thoughts of small town Americana to mind.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

dictum \DIK-tuhm\, noun:
1. An authoritative statement; a formal pronouncement.
2. Law) A judicial opinion expressed by judges on points that do not necessarily arise in the case, and are not involved in it.

I have taken to heart Francis Bacon's dictum that "truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion".
-- Donald B. Calne, Within Reason: Rationality and Human Behavior

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Daily Cartoon

This post is to let you know that at the very bottom of this blog, I have a cartoon, which changes daily, thanks to the folks at NewsBusters. Chances are many of you will hate the cartoons, many of you will like them, but in any case, I hope you find them interesting and perhaps a little thought provoking.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Investment Banking Blog

Here is a blog of a student who is trying to break into Investment Banking. He chronicles the entire interview process (applications, phone interviews, oft-asked questions, etc) and I think its a pretty interesting read.

Here is the tagline:
I am a student at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business. I am a Master of Science in Finance Candidate at Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. My goal is to get a job in NYC in Investment Banking and help others who didn't go to a Top 10 school do the same. Can you help?

If that interests you, here is another guy, this one from the University of Alabama, chronicling his efforts to make it to Wall Street.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Koreans Deal Poorly with Leisure

I came across an article in the WSJ several months ago and thought it was very interesting. The title is "More Play, Less Toil Is a Stressful Shift For Some Koreans." The article focuses on the fact that South Korea has been scaling their traditional work week back to five days, and "even though they are paid the same wages to work fewer hours, many Koreans are still unsettled by the prospect of having more free time." Many people are having difficulty filling up their free time. The problem is such that there are now "leisure counselors" who instruct the Koreans on how to relax for that whole extra day.

If someone gave me an extra day of weekends, I don't think I would have a problem.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

World's Tallest Man Saves Dolphins

I have received numerous e-mails about this story, and upon reading, feel that it certainly deserves a post on The Mint Julep. Below are pictures of the tallest man in the world (7'9") saving two dolphins by pulling pieces of plastic out of their stomachs with his 41 inch arms. You can read several stories about this here, here, and here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I've been pretty busy doing various things these past couple of weeks, and have neglected putting any new thoughts/articles on here...but hopefully things will cool down and I'll be putting up some more stuff.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Word of the Day

mollify \MOL-uh-fy\, transitive verb:

1. To pacify; to soothe or calm in temper or disposition.
2. To reduce in intensity; to temper.
3. To soften; to reduce the rigidity of.

One hundred seventeen and a half pesos! Did you think you could mollify me with that amount, Philip V?
-- Ana Teresa Torres, Doña Inés vs. Oblivion

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rutger - BCS Discussion

Here is an interesting discussion from Pro-football-reference concerning the controversy which will ensure if Rutgers finishes out the season undefeated, but does is not selected to play in the championship game.

If Rutgers is undefeated and does not play in the title game, will that be because of Big East bias, or will it be because of preseason poll bias?

Every reputable ranking system I’ve seen (here are a few: I, II, III) say that the Big East is stronger than the Big XII and the ACC. So the question is, if Missouri or Texas A&M or Wake Forest had gone undefeated this year, would they be getting the same treatment Rutgers is now getting? If yes, then it’s preseason bias (and/or reputation bias). If no, then it’s Big East bias.

I don’t have any evidence to back this up, but I happen to think that it’s yes. The problem isn’t that people are undervaluing the Big East. It’s that people, even at the end of the season, haven’t phased their preseason expectations out of their internal ranking algorithms.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

RIP Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman, the pro-capitalism and free market economic genius, who coined the phrase, "There is no such thing as a free lunch" died today. He was 94 years old. Here is a comprehensive article chronicling his life, and if you are even more interested, here you can find his memoirs, which he co-authored with his life. Friedman really was one of the last, great economists, and has been one of my personal favorites throughout my studies.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Starbucks Caffeine Inhaler

This delivers a grande sized burst of caffine with each blast while making your breath minty fresh.

Fortunately, I doubt this is real. However, for all you Starbucks lovers, you can read, here, about how Starbucks is going to devour your pocketbook, one $4.99 latte at a time.

Here is an excerpt:
What's more, Starbucks already has a reputation for having the most expensive coffee in the marketplace. When I left Moneybox's New York headquarters to conduct research at the closest Starbucks (a block away), I passed a half-dozen other coffee vendors. There's the guy with the cart who sells the little Greek diner cups for 50 cents; the deli with the scalding 75-cent generic joe and the thin paper cup; the convenience store with $1.00 faux gourmet stuff; and Cosi, where a latte costs $3.59. Only after running this gantlet could I enter Starbucks, where a java chip Frappuccino runs $4.75.

Global Forces

Per Michael Mandel with BusinessWeek:

Sometime next year—perhaps around Christmas 2007, if current trends continue—the U.S. will hit a milestone. For the first time in recent memory, the cost of imported goods and services will exceed federal revenues. In other words, Americans will soon pay more to foreigners than they do to their national government.

We're almost there now. Imports cost us about $2.2 trillion a year; the federal government collects $2.4 trillion in revenues. Why is that important? Because for the past 70 years, Washington has been the 800-pound gorilla, more powerful by far than any other force in the U.S. economy. That's not true anymore. The federal government remains plenty influential, but the global economy is more so.

This will come as a rude shock to Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the presumptive Speaker of the House, Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), the likely chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, and other newly enfranchised leaders in the Democratic Party. Sure, they're likely to have the power to pass legislation, including boosting the minimum wage. But such a measure, even if President George W. Bush signed it, would help only a small fraction of the workforce. It would do almost nothing to ameliorate the weak wage growth that has plagued most Americans, including college graduates, in recent years. The broad-based drop in incomes is being driven more by the rise of China and India and the intensification of global competition. And there is little Democrats can do to reverse these trends.

I am as big a fan of free trade as anyone, yet it does frighten me the way those guys in Bangalore, India, and China are eating into the U.S. Economy. My take on it, is that it will force Americans to get off their fats and start learning. While our labor costs cannot compete with India, we can at least make a push at educating ourselves to the degree of those phenomenal Indian technical institutes.

When it comes down to it, Americans lack drive. The Indians are hungry, and will do what it takes to work there way into a decent lifestyle, while Americans, in general, are fat, lazy, and complacent to watch Grey's Anatomy and Lost every night. My message is this: Wake up everyone, or we will all find ourselves being eaten for lunch by the rest of the hungry world.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wal-Mart Economics

This is per Arnold Kling over at EconLog:

At the MIT economics alumni event this morning, Jerry Hausman spoke about his research on Wal-Mart. He says that Wal-Mart lowers prices to consumers primarily by bargaining down the prices charged by suppliers, such as Procter and Gamble. It also uses cost-saving logistics. Lower labor costs may contribute to its low prices, but not as much as the other factors.

Hausman argues that driving down prices of suppliers is a benefit, because prices are being driven closer to marginal cost. In welfare-economics terms, you can think of Wal-Mart as a substitute for a regulator who would try to improve efficiency by forcing imperfectly competitive producers to move down the demand curve.

The magnitude of the benefit is enormous. Hausman looked at food, and for that category alone Wal-Mart increases consumer welfare by 25 percent (I'm a bit worried that the theory behind his calculations holds only for much smaller differences, but I don't have an alternative.) Since food is about 12 percent of GDP, multiplying .25 by .12 gives a benefit of .03, or 3 percent of GDP from Wal-Mart.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

UK Defeats UGA 24-20!


down it goes

Read all about it here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Word of the Day

prevaricate \prih-VAIR-uh-kayt\, intransitive verb:
To depart from or evade the truth; to speak with equivocation.

Journalism has a similar obligation, particularly with men and women suddenly transferred to places of great power, who are often led to exaggerate and prevaricate, all in the name of a supposedly greater good.
-- Stephen R. Graubard, "Presidents: The Power and the Mediocrity", New York Times, January 15, 1989

Monday, October 30, 2006

Enjoy the Story...

The True Origin of the Internet

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot.

And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she had been called 'Amazon Dot Com.'

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why doth thou travel far from town to town with thy goods when thou can trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale and they will reply telling you which hath the best price. And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever moving from his tent.

But this success did arouse envy. A man named Maccabia did secrete himself inside Abraham's drum and was accused of insider trading. And the young man did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Siderites, or NERDS for short.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to the drum maker, one Brother William of Gates, who bought up every drum company in the land. And indeed did insist on making drums that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."

And as Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or as it came to be known "eBay" he said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."

And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators."

"YAHOO," said Abraham.

And that is how it all began. It wasn't Al Gore after all.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hypoctrical Celebrities Pretending They Love The Environment

This is all about celebrities out in Hollywood who claim they are environmentally responsible by buying hybrid and electric powered cars...but then nullify those good effects by riding around in their jet fuel guzzling airplanes.

Welcome to Zimbabwe...

I have a friend from Zimbabwe, where 1 US dollar equals 1 million Zimbabwe dollars. The inflation rate for this country is roughly 1,200% per year. To curb inflation, they have cut 3 zeros off of their currency. He figures that he has easily counted a billion dollars before.

Much of Zimbabwe's economic troubles are directly related to the corruption and human rights abuses that have been suffered under President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe has been "elected" president of Zimbabwe since 1980s. In the free world, we like to call Presidents who reign for 25 years, dictators.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Word of the Day

solicitous \suh-LIS-uh-tuhs\, adjective:

1. Manifesting or expressing care or concern.
2. Full of anxiety or concern; apprehensive.
3. Extremely careful; meticulous.
4. Full of desire; eager.

He does not appear to have suffered from homesickness, although the suspicion that this might have been due to the unsatisfactory nature of his 'home' life seems belied by the tone and content of his letters; he makes frequent and solicitous inquiries after not only Mabel and his mother but also his father.
-- Matthew Sturgis, Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What Can Brown Do For You?

I once heard that roughly 2% of America's GDP was sold through Wal-Mart. That stat shocked me - but is nothing compared to what I read last night in "The World is Flat," by Thomas Friedman. In it, Friedman states that "On any given day, 2% of the world's GDP can be found in UPS delivery trucks of package cars." Unbelievable.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Here is yet another ridiculous set of facts concerning Wal-Mart. Per today's WSJ:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Population 300,000,000 and something

According to this article, the US population hit the 300 million mark at 7:46a.m. this morning when the Census Bureau's population calculater rolled over the big number. This of course is not a precise measurement and it is common thought that our population has been over 300 million for some time. Only now, it is official.

Friday, October 13, 2006

One Of Those E-mails...

Below is one of those e-mails that get passed around all the time. I really don't like them, but haven't put anything on here in a while, and this seemed like some nice fodder. Have a nice weekend, everyone.

What a Country!!!!

5 million of our older Americans have not signed up yet for their Medicare, Part D, drug plan---they are old and confused. We are not going to grant them an extension.

However, 12 million illegal aliens are in our country and we are going to allow them to stay, protest, procreate, receive support monies, attend schools, avoid paying income taxes, have our teachers take 300 hours of ESL (English as a Second Language) training at our expense, etc.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Google Buys YouTube

Today Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. Here is the official press release. Also, you can listen to the conference call announcing the merger, here. TechCrunch is the blog that first reported the rumors of the acquisition.

Could be Helpful

In the case you are pulled over after enjoying some libations, this is what you should tell the police man:

My Lawyer Has Instructed Me
Not to Answer Any Questions, Take
Any Field Sobriety Tests without
My Lawyer Present. I Will Take
Your B.A. or Blood Test, but
I Do Not Waive Any Liability.
I Do Request an Independent
Test of My Blood at a

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Something Sick

This is almost too horrible to put on my blog, but I think it need to be addressed. The below exchange is coming from an ABC News blog, via the Drudge Report. This is an exchange that Congressman Mark Foley, from Florida, had with a congressional page (a teenage boy), while in the middle of a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Now Foley is claiming that he is a gay, was abused by a Catholic clergyman, and is also an alcoholic. This is quite literally one of the most shocking things I have ever heard least Clinton in the Oval Office was with a consenting female of legal age...this is completely different and much, much worse.

Maf54: I miss you
Teen: ya me too
Maf54: we are still voting
Maf54: you miss me too

The exchange continues in which Foley and the teen both appear to describe having sexual orgasms.

Maf54: ok..i better go vote..did you know you would have this effect on me
Teen: lol I guessed
Teen: ya go vote…I don't want to keep you from doing our job
Maf54: can I have a good kiss goodnight
Teen: :-*

The House voted that evening on HR 1559, Emergency War Time supplemental appropriations.

According to another message, Foley also invites the teen and a friend to come to his house near Capitol Hill so they can drink alcohol.

Teen: are you going to be in town over the veterans day weekend
Maf54: I may be now that your coming
Maf54: who you coming to visit
Teen: haha good stuff
Teen: umm no one really

Maf54: we will be adjourned ny then
Teen: oh good
Maf54: by
Maf54: then we can have a few drinks
Maf54: lol
Teen: yes yes ;-)
Maf54: your not old enough to drink
Teen: shhh…
Maf54: ok
Teen: that's not what my ID says
Teen: lol
Maf54: ok
Teen: I probably shouldn't be telling you that huh
Maf54: we may need to drink at my house so we don't get busted

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Jesus Camp

This is a pretty shocking video. I am still trying to develop my feelings about this one, but initial impressions include hating brainwashing, and feeding children their belief. Take a look.

Here is a good review worth reading. This film was also reviewed in Friday's Wall Street Journal, found here.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Quote of the Day

Fortune favors the prepared mind.

- Louis Pasteur

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

NYC Health Department Proposes Ban on Trans Fats

Here's the article, folks.

Incredible...that's all I have to say. First it is the smoking, which I am slowly coming getting used to. Now, the big guys want to put restrictions on what we eat. Come on. I understand restrictions on drugs, but to carry the argument further, that ingesting trans fat is harmful and dangerous - that makes me mad. Don't let me be misunderstood...I do realize the harm in eating transfat, but that is a personal choice of the consumer. It is not the city of New York's position to set a decree making all of its citizens only eat healthy food. I hate it. Government interference with the oridnary man, I tell you, and its nothing but trouble.

And since we're on the topic, if you were wondering how fat you're state is, check this out:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Almost October...

And that means baseball playoffs. Below are several stats from the WSJ which talk about baseball's post-season play, from a television perspective.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Men More Intelligent than Women?

According to a study, featured here, men's IQs are almost four points higher than women's. The top researcher John Philippe Rushton "says the finding could explain why so few women make it to the top in the workplace." I am sure that Larry Summers would have loved to use this study as support, before he was ousted from his presidency at Harvard. I have always thought girls seemed to be a little bit smarter, but some of that perception is probably based upon the fact that girls mature before men. I would be interested to see what further studies say about inter-sex intelligence. I would tend to doubt there would be much of a difference either way, but heck, who knows.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

If This Doesn't Make You Mad

"UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called President Bush 'the devil' in a speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, making the sign of the cross in a dramatic gesture and accusing him of 'talking as if he owned the world'.

As was the case when Iran's Ahmadinejad spoke yesterday evening, the main U.S. seat in the assembly hall was empty as Chavez spoke. However, the U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told The Associated Press that a "junior note-taker" was present, as is customary "when governments like that speak."

What's the world coming to? And I mean that quite literally.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

--Rudyard Kipling

Sunday, September 17, 2006

ESPN College GameDay Selling Out

You'll find numerous websites and blogs with this headline or one similar, all over the internet today. College Gameday, is a traveling college preview show, which once used to set up shop on the campus of the biggest game of the day. It has now sold out and travels to wherever ESPN's sister network, ABC, is televising the ABC Saturday night game. Yesterday was a prime example. On a day which featured such titanic matchups as Auburn-LSU, Tennessee-Florida, and Michigan-Notre Dame, Gameday chose to go to the LA Coliseum, where Nebraska would be playing USC. How pitiful. ESPN has admitted their change in policy - I like to call it selling out - in a column that Gameday host, Chris Fowler wrote. Below is an excerpt. Find the entire article here.

For 13 seasons, the locations of the GameDay road shows have been editorial decisions based on the college football landscape. The basic principle was to (almost) always come from the site of the "biggest game," or occasionally, "the best story." Several times, we have visited the edge of the radar screen to pay tribute to the Mid American Conference's rise (at Bowling Green), the service academies (Air Force and West Point) or the tradition of the Bayou Classic.

Now, the philosophy has been rethought by upper management. For the first time, the competitive landscape of football programming is a frequent consideration. Serving the needs of ABC's new prime-time package of games is often a priority. The decision on GameDay's site is less a clear-cut "best game" philosophy now and is more complicated, made on a landscape where terms like "synergy" and "branding" live.

For other, more in depth blogs talking about this poor decision, see "Why Isn't ESPN College Gameday Crew at the LSU/Auburn Game This Weekend?"

College Gameday is Officially Selling Out

A nice article from LSU, and here's a good college football blogger's post about it.

You can also read about ESPN on ABC here.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

"I believe in Sewanee with all my heart. I do not know of any institution of its size in any part of our country which has done more for the cause of good citizenship than Sewanee has done. As an American I am proud of it; as a citizen I am grateful to it. It is entitled The University of the South, but it is much more than that; it is a University of all America, and its welfare should be dear to all Americans who are patriotic and farsighted, and therefore anxious to see every influence strengthened which tends for the betterment and enlightenment of our great common country."

— President Theodore Roosevelt, June 4, 1907

Thursday, September 14, 2006

On the Rocks?

"People who consume alcohol earn significantly more at their jobs than non-drinkers, according to a US study that highlighted 'social capital' gained from drinking." That is according to this article. Here is some more " The study published in the Journal of Labor Research Thursday concluded that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers, and that men who drink socially bring home an additional seven percent in pay."

The theory here, is that those who drink, increase their social capital, building up relationships, and consequently more contacts, which inevitably leads to a greater paycheck. I sure would like to examine their methodology. Sounds plausible in theory; however I am skeptical as to the validity and accuracy of this "study." That being said...who wants a cold one?

Quote of the Day

"Luck is when preparation meets opportunity"

- Someone awesome

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Katie Couric, while interviewing a Marine sniper, asked, "What do you feel when you shoot a terrorist?"

The Marine shrugged and replied, "Recoil."

Word of the Day

erudite \AIR-yuh-dyt; -uh-dyt\, adjective:
Characterized by extensive reading or knowledge; learned.

In front of imposing edifices like the Topkapi Palace or Hagia Sophia are guides displaying Government-issued licenses. Many of these guides are erudite historians who have quit low-paying jobs as university professors and now offer private tours.
-- "What's Doing in Istanbul", New York Times, February 23, 1997

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Joke Time

Recently a routine police patrol was parked outside a bar in
Canon, Georgia.

After last call the officer noticed a man leaving the bar so
intoxicated that he could barely walk. The man stumbled around the
parking lot for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing.

After what seemed an eternity and trying his keys on five different
vehicles, the man managed to find his car which he fell into.

He sat there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the
bar and drove off.

Finally he started the car, switched the wipers on and off (it was a
fine, dry summer night) -- flicked the blinkers on, then off a couple
of times, honked the horn and then switched on the lights. He moved
the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained
still for a few more minutes as some more of the other patron
vehicles left.

At last, the parking lot empty, he pulled out of the parking lot and
started to drive slowly down the road. The police officer, having
patiently waited all this time, now started up the patrol car, put on
the flashing lights and promptly pulled the man over and carried out
a breathalyzer test.

To his amazement, the breathalyzer indicated no evidence of the man
having consumed any alcohol at all! Dumbfounded, the officer said,
"I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the police station. This
breathalyzer equipment must be broken."

"I doubt it," said the truly proud redneck...
"Tonight I'm the designated decoy."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Woman With Perfect Memory Baffles Scientists

This is pretty remarkable. I don't really know what to make of this. Here is the article, with a nice little excerpt below.

Give her any date, she said, and she could recall the day of the week, usually what the weather was like on that day, personal details of her life at that time, and major news events that occurred on that date.

One day when he asked her out of the blue if she knew who Bing Crosby was.

"I wasn't sure she would know, because she's 40 and wasn't of the Bing Crosby era," he says.

But she did.

"Do you know where he died?" McGaugh asked.

"Oh yes, he died on a golf course in Spain," she answered, and provided the day of the week and the date when the crooner died.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

TV Reporter Gets Beaten

This is a San Diego news reporter who was beaten up pretty badly while trying to do a story on a real estate scam. A man and wife just get out of their car and start fighting this guy. You can read all about the story here. However, I suggest you click here and you can watch the whole thing on video. This is seriously one of the funniest things I have seen in a very long time.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ah...So Money Does Buy Happiness

According to this article in today's WSJ, anyway. This article in a way rebuts an older article doubting the impact that money has on one's happiness. Some of this new article's reasoning is as follows:

Top doctors and fresh vegetables help you keep healthy, and they cost money. Hiring a house-cleaner leaves means less fighting with your spouse, and household help costs money. A ski trip with your college friends strengthens those bonds, and it costs money. Giving to charity feels good, and it costs money.

Word of the Day


n : the sound of a bell ringing; "the distinctive ring of the church bell"; "the ringing of the telephone";

"the tintinnabulation that so volumnously swells from the ringing and the dinging of the bells"
--E. A. Poe

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Having Brothers Increases Gay Probability?

A WSJ aricle reports a study that suggests a correlation between boys with older brothers and homosexuality. Below is an excerpt:

A study released this week tracing some instances of male homosexuality to the "older brother effect" is more than another entrant in the race to find the biological roots of sexual orientation. The mechanism it points to fits with emerging research on the powerful effects of conditions in the womb.

The theory dates to 1996, when scientists reported an odd correlation. For each additional older brother that a boy has, his chance of growing up to be gay increases by one-third. The correlation doesn't explain all homosexuality -- many of the estimated 7 million gay men in the U.S. have no older brothers, and most younger brothers are straight. But if the conclusion is right, a rough calculation shows that "about 1 million American men are gay or will grow up to be gay because their mother had sons before them," says psychologist S. Marc Breedlove of Michigan State University, East Lansing, who studies sexual orientation.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Quote of the Day

A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


The altitude record of a bird is held by a Rüppell's griffon Gyps rueppelli, a vulture with a 10-foot wingspan. On November 29, 1975 one was sucked into a jet engine 37,900 feet above the Ivory Coast in West Africa. The plane was damaged but landed safely.

That altitude is over 7 miles high, and is 1.3 times as high as the summit of Mt. Everest.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sexual Selection

Here's an interesting little thing I recently read in The Economist. I am always fascinated by nature, and more specifically, the intense power and drive of a species to reproduce. Things we never think of, such as a rugged v. effeminate face, are instrumental in promulgating a species.

It is well established that facial features rated as masculine (square jawed, rugged, that sort of thing) are the result of high testosterone levels. There is good evolutionary reason why such features should be attractive, and it is that such faces also indicate a strong immune system.

One of the unfortunate side-effects of being male is a higher death rate, at any given age, than if you are female. Part of the cause of this is that testosterone suppresses the immune system, leaving high testosterone individuals particularly vulnerable to infection. So a man who has made it to sexual maturity despite his high testosterone levels probably has a particularly good immune system, which he can pass on to his children.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Smirnoff Raw Iced Tea

This video is hilarious. As a sidenote, it is part of Smirnoff's new ad campaign for "Raw Iced-Tea" found on YouTube. The fact that this ad is being distributed on YouTube made it into an article in the WSJ, praising the innovativeness of Smirnoff to use YouTube as a means of advertising.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I have been in Iowa the past couple days on business, and thought that I would give a little report. I started out in Cedar Rapids, and then drove westward, across vast amounts of land, to the state's capital, Des Moines. The state is pleasant...acres upon acres of corn fill up the land in all directions. The Capital building in Des Moines has a distinctive golden dome, which stands out in the horizon of the land. The land is not quite as flat as I thought it would be - certainly no Kansas. I just missed the Iowa State fair, which has been growing in popularity in recent years. this year, over 1 million people went to the fair. I was a couple days late.

There was an enormous Quaker Oats production facility in Cedar Rapids, which probably employed a fair percentage of the city's population. The mass amounts of corn being produced are more and more being used for ethanol (of which Iowa has over 20 production plants). That's all I have on Iowa.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Need a Friend?

Here is a guy on e-bay, who will be your friend for 30 days...for $19.69 . Here is what you get:

The lucky
Winning Bidder and RENTAPAL will exchange unlimited emails for a period of 30 DAYS on any subject that you like. RENTAPAL will provide you with a compassionate ear, good conversation, feedback and advice - the kind that could only come from a close, caring friend.

Amazingly, there is already a bid.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

College Football Time!

I just read an article on that has really got me excited about the upcoming football season. Ivan Maisel talks about the rivalries, tradition, bowl games, and marching bands, that all put together, make our hearts pound in the excitement and glory that football. I have really been excited about the season for several weeks now, but with fall practice well under way, you can really feel football season in the air. Here's a link to the article that really made me realize that college football is indeed upon us.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I'm Back, Folks

For anyone that even reads The Mint Julep anymore, I would like to extend my deepest apologies for not maintaining it for the last month or so. I have been extremely busy acclimatizing myself to a new city and a new job, and have not had adequate time to talk about interesting/controversial/hilarious items on this blog. In the future, I will make a concerted effort to post more frequently on here.

With that, here is a good article discussing the prevailing sports scandals which have plagued various universities this summer. The article focuses on the segregation of athletes from the general student body, asserting that this practice gives athletes a false sense of power and authority. Add this to the common irresponsibility of the typical college kid, and trouble is sure to brew. Below is a brief excerpt from the article.

The segregation of athletes from students dramatically increases the chances of outrageous behavior such as the allegations facing Duke, Auburn and Montana State. When 18-, 19- and 20-year-old young men and women are thrust onto quasi-professional sports pedestals, some will mistake the limelight for the green light.

It’s not simply a limited group of unfortunate schools. Many Division I colleges and universities have been ensnared by sports scandals in recent years. From allegations of improper recruiting practices and hazing incidents to steroid use and academic misconduct, the list of recent Division I sports scandals is as lengthy as it is disgraceful. Why the common problems? The runaway desire for a national sports championship — and the corresponding jackpots that accompany the likes of Final Four appearances — has led too many schools to create a parallel campus universe for athletes that rarely, briefly, and then only by necessity, intersects with the world of their student peers.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Statistics

Below is taken from Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt at their Freakonomics blog. It is fairly interesting, and like Levitt, I am not sure what to make of it.

Here is something that I don’t quite know how to interpret.

In the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case, the police made the 46 players come down to the police station to have their pictures taken. Then these 46 pictures were shown to the women who has accused the lacrosse players of sexually assaulting her.

She was shown the pictures one-by-one. The three players that she positively identified were the fourth, fifth, and seventh pictures that she saw. These are the only three positive identifications that were made.

Statistically this is quite strange. The chance of any one player being positively identified is 3/46, or about .065. I did the calculations, and if the order of the pictures was randomly chosen, the probability that 3 of the first 7 pictures would be positive identifications is less than 1 in 100.

This suggests one of three possibilities:

1) Rare events happen and maybe this is the one time in 100 that a distribution this unusual occurred.

2) The police intentionally or unintentionally stacked the deck so that these three pictures were in the beginning.

3) There was some sort of bias that led the accuser to be inclined to give positive identifications early in the process.

I’m not trying to side with either party on this matter, at all. Indeed, I haven’t even been paying close attention to what has been happening. I just raise this as a statistical curiosity for the conspiracy theorists among you to argue about.

(Thanks to Brian Sullivan for bringing this issue to my attention and passing along the Motion to Dismiss which contains this information. I don’t have an online version of it to link to. I’m sure someone reading this blog will be able to provide such a link.)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Minimum Wage

Here is a decent illustration of the idea of minimum wage. I borrowed this passage from the guys over at EconLog. I'd love to get a little dialogue going with this idea...because most people don't realize: 1. how a minimum is an example of the government meddling with the free market and prices, thus causing artificially high wages, and 2. the fact that many, many economic studies have determined that, contrary to popular belief, most wage earners who are receiving minimum wage are in fact not the poorest people in this country, but rather teenagers of non-poor families, and/or college kids working in the summer.

Allow me here to spin the core argument -- that minimum-wage legislation prices many low-skilled workers out of their jobs -- by wondering aloud if proponents of higher minimum wages would ever make the following claim:

The market prices of most used-cars are too low for sellers of those cars to support their families. This fact is especially true for poor people, who, when they sell their old cars, almost always have only old, high-mileage, often dilapidated used-cars to sell. These people aren't selling two-year-old Lexuses or BMWs. They're selling 15-year-old Chevys and 20-year-old Hondas. So let's enact legislation mandating that no used-car can sell for less than, say, $25,000. That way, anyone who sells a used-car is assured that he or she will earn at least enough money to support a family for a year.

I doubt that many people would argue that government should legislate a minumum price for used-cars. But why not? If merely identifying a problem with a low price (such as "At the current minimum wage, even full-time workers can't support a family of four") is sufficient to justify legislative action to raise that price, why won't such action work for used-cars as well as it will work for labor hours?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pentagon's Take on Homosexuality

Here is an interesting take on homosexuality. The pentagon is calling it a mental disorder...not a genetic disposition, or a "choice" that people make. Below is an excerpt of the article. Click here for the rest of it.

WASHINGTON — A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position.

The document outlines retirement or other discharge policies for service members with physical disabilities, and in a section on defects lists homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.
Yesterday I met a man named Millard. I didn't think people kept naming their children that name since the years of President Millard Filmore. Speaking of which, can anyone tell me one single fact, off the top of their head - not looking anything up, about President Filmore?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ghana sent their medecine man to Germany to check out all the stadiums...and it must have worked...they just scored a goal in the second minutes versus the sick Czechs.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Drudge Headline

The headline on the Drudge Report right now is this: Clinton Links Republican Policies to More Hurricanes. That assertion is exactly why liberals have a bad name. Hurricanes are now Republican's fault? Can somebody please explain me the rationale behind that? At least I understand how someone can blame Republicans for poor people, uneducated people, lack of economic equality, etc...however, how can people start criticizing Republicans for events of nature? I doubt I will ever understand.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Simpson Philosophy

This is a pretty good article about how modern day philosphy is effectively articulated in The Simpsons. I have always been interested in the suprisingly high intellectual / satirical content of The Simpsons, and this article really demonstrates that.

The Simpsons is more than a funny cartoon - it reveals truths about human nature that rival the observations of great philosophers from Plato to Kant... while Homer sets his house on fire, says philosopher Julian Baggini.

With the likes of Douglas Coupland, George Walden and Stephen Hawking as fans, taking the Simpsons seriously is no longer outre but de rigeur.

It is, quite simply, one of the greatest cultural artefacts of our age. So great, in fact, that it not only reflects and plays with philosophical ideas, it actually does real philosophy, and does it well.

Here's the rest of the article.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Murderer Seeks Sex Change or will Commit Suicide

Obviously this makes me mad:

BOSTON — A man serving a life sentence for murdering his wife is asking a federal judge to order the state to pay for a sex-change operation, arguing that denying him the surgery amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

A psychiatrist testified Tuesday that he believes Robert Kosilek — who now goes by Michelle — will commit suicide if state corrections officials refuse to allow the surgery and Kosilek is unable to complete the transformation into a woman.

And wouldn't you know that the dateline is Boston, MA.

Here is the whole article.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Quotation of the Day

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
-- Andrew Carnegie

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Quintessential Mint Julep

With the 132 running of the Kentucky Derby tomorrow, I feel that it is my absolute duty as author of The Mint Julep, to write a post concerning that lovely libation that is the essence of Kentucky in May. Of course, I am talking about the Mint Julep. Just as I did on this day, one year ago, so too today will I include a letter, written from a Lieutenant in World War II, to a fellow comrade. The description of how to create this fine beverage is one worth reading in whole. Last year I only included a brief segment; however, for your benefit, the entire letter is found below. Please enjoy.

March 30, 1937

My dear General Connor,

Your letter requesting my formula for mixing mint juleps leaves me in the same position in which Captain Barber found himself when asked how he was able to carve the image of an elephant from a block of wood. He replied that it was a simple process consisting merely of whittling off the part that didn't look like an elephant.

The preparation of the quintessence of gentlemanly beverages can be described only in like terms. A mint julep is not the product of a FORMULA. It is a CEREMONY and must be performed by a gentleman possessing a true sense of the artistic, a deep reverence for the ingredients and a proper appreciation of the occasion. It is a rite that must not be entrusted to a novice, a statistician, nor a Yankee. It is a heritage of the old South, an emblem of hospitality and a vehicle in which noble minds can travel together upon the flower-strewn paths of happy and congenial thought.

So far as the mere mechanics of the operation are concerned, the procedure, stripped of its ceremonial embellishments, can be described as follows:

Go to a spring where cool, crystal-clear water bubbles from under a bank of dew-washed ferns. In a consecrated vessel, dip up a little water at the source. Follow the stream through its banks of green moss and wildflowers until it broadens and trickles through beds of mint growing in aromatic profusion and waving softly in the summer breezes. Gather the sweetest and most tender shoots and gently carry them home. Go to the sideboard and select a decanter of Kentucky Bourbon, distilled by a master hand, mellowed with age yet still vigorous and inspiring. An ancestral sugar bowl, a row of silver goblets, some spoons and some ice and you are ready to start.

In a canvas bag, pound twice as much ice as you think you will need. Make it fine as snow, keep it dry and do not allow it to degenerate into slush.

In each goblet, put a slightly heaping teaspoonful of granulated sugar, barely cover this with spring water and slightly bruise one mint leaf into this, leaving the spoon in the goblet. Then pour elixir from the decanter until the goblets are about one-fourth full. Fill the goblets with snowy ice, sprinkling in a small amount of sugar as you fill. Wipe the outsides of the goblets dry and embellish copiously with mint.

Then comes the important and delicate operation of frosting. By proper manipulation of the spoon, the ingredients are circulated and blended until Nature, wishing to take a further hand and add another of its beautiful phenomena, encrusts the whole in a glittering coat of white frost. Thus harmoniously blended by the deft touches of a skilled hand, you have a beverage eminently appropriate for honorable men and beautiful women.

When all is ready, assemble your guests on the porch or in the garden, where the aroma of the juleps will rise Heavenward and make the birds sing. Propose a worthy toast, raise the goblet to your lips, bury your nose in the mint, inhale a deep breath of its fragrance and sip the nectar of the gods.

Being overcome by thirst, I can write no further.

S.B. Buckner, Jr.

Rumsfeld Heckled in Atlanta

ATLANTA — Anti-war protesters repeatedly interrupted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during a speech Thursday, and one of them, a former CIA analyst, accused him in a question-and-answer session of lying about prewar intelligence on Iraq.

So, there you have it. However, apparently Rummy held his own. Read about it here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Zacarias Moussaoui's Sentence

A friend of mine had this to write, following the life sentence which was handed down to Zacarias Moussaoui yesterday afternoon.

What is this crap?
He was the ONLY one tried for the 9/11 bombings, and they gave him life in prison, whereby we (taxpayers) have to pay for him to stay alive in prison (he is only a young guy...age 37, like Dennis in Monty Python's Holy Grail), which by the way is absurd because he's not even a US citizen, he is a frenchman of Moroccan descent. Additionally, after they gave him life in prison instead of the death penalty, he pulled some bullshit:
"America, you lost. I won," he said Wednesday, clapping his hands as he was led out of the courtroom.
Now they are going to give him the opportunity to speak again publicly before he goes to jail: Zacarias Moussaoui will get one last chance to speak publicly Thursday before he is sent to a super-maximum security prison with little to no contact with the outside world for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Why will he get to speak publicly? They were worried about him being a martyr if he were killed, who knows what sort of Muslim rage he will incite when he is allowed to speak.
I hope the jurors felt like shit when he taunted them after his sentencing.
Then his mother blamed France and his race for his sentencing...he's lucky he's not on death row lady: Zacarias Moussaoui's mother on Thursday blamed France for not fighting harder for her son's case, and said his race and his color were partly to blame for the U.S. jury's decision to sentence him to life in prison over the Sept. 11 attacks.
I blame Virginia...the trial should have been held in Texas.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nietzsche in Wall Street

This is an interesting article that a friend of mine wrote concerning Nietzsche's philosophy in the movie Wall Street. I found it fairly interesting. Enjoy.

The movie 'Wall Street' clearly demonstrates one of Nietzsche's more important ideas – the will to power. The main character in the movie, Bud Fox, starts out as an 'average-Joe' trader at a company in New York City, where he works cold-calling people, trying to get them to buy stocks. Fairly dissatisfied with the direction his job seems to be going, Fox calls big-shot investor, Gordon Gecko, fifty-nine days in a row, asking for a chance to set up a meeting. Finally Fox's persistence pays off and Gecko agrees to meet with him. It is at this meeting that Fox's will to power surfaces. When it appears that Gecko is about to end the meeting, Fox makes a desperate last-ditch attempt to win Gecko’s approval, and reveals a private piece of information concerning the airline for which his father works. He tells Gecko that a lawsuit in which the airline was involved, unbeknownst to anyone outside of the company, has been decided in a way favorable to the company's stocks. By 'inside trading' like this, Fox demonstrates that his will to power is stronger than his loyalty to his own father, as well as than his will to truth and honesty. This superiority of the will to power is a part of Nietzsche's philosophy, and an idea that is carried on throughout the movie.

Nietzsche argues that the will to power is the highest and most important aspect of the human personality. Throughout the movie, Bud Fox demonstrates the ability of the will to power to take over a person. Once Fox gets his initial taste of the power and the money he can gain through the illegal practice of inside trading, he can't stop trying for more and more, even to the point where he attempts to 'out-power' the most powerful of the powerful, Gordon Gecko. Working for Gecko, who believes and preaches that “greed is good...greed works,” Fox is surrounded by power-hungry businessmen, much like himself, all competing for the most powerful position. He increasingly becomes more and more dishonest as his will to power keeps growing.

If there was to exist a society based on Nietzsche's idea of the will to power, it would be a very unpleasant society filled with people similar to Bud Fox and Gordon Gecko. It would be 'every man for himself' in a struggle to become the most powerful – the Gordon Gecko of the society. There would be no place for morality or consideration of others. No one could be trusted as, like Bud Fox, people would lie, cheat, and exploit others in order to get ahead. Such a society clearly would not be desirable, as very little happiness can be derived from having nothing other than power and the things that come with it. 'Wall Street' put Nietzsche's philosophies into a real-life setting, demonstrating the way in which the will to power can destroy a person. While Nietzsche does have some valid points in his writings, the movie clearly demonstrates why and how his idea of the will to power could lead to a corrupt and evil society, as well as to the possible downfall of such a society. Bud Fox depicts this through his own personal downfall which ultimately leads to the receding of his will to power. The circle that Fox travels throughout the movie – from demonstrating little will to power, to maximum will to power, and back to having much less will to power – proves, through his experiences at each stage, that the will to power cannot be the basis of a wholesome or successful society.