31 January 2011
But why? Why do we stop free-market capitalism from doing its job? Demand for water spikes and supply plummets. Inevitably the price goes up. This is the nature of the free market, and any regulation or manipulation of it is inherently wrong.
When water gets pumped back in the area, supply goes up and the price drops. Alternatively, after enough time all but the richest will have died from dehydration, reducing demand. Only marginally of course, because when you are dying of thirst demand becomes unlimited. I’d say this is a failing of free market capitalism but we all know there is no such thing.
The price eventually returns to the normal level and society resumes. Plus, just think about how many jobs we’ve created digging all those graves for people who couldn’t afford water! Those free market idealists sure know how to create shovel-ready jobs.
HT Political Irony
27 January 2011
22 January 2011
In other news:
From bribes to ball-tampering to suspicious defeats, a number of allegations have been made against Pakistan's cricketers
20 January 2011
17 January 2011
When a society allows for more than $45,000 a year to be paid to incarcerate each of it’s many inmates, $1,000,000 dollars a year on each of it’s soldiers invading a foreign country, and only $11,287.50 per year on each of it’s students the resulting social dilemma is inevitable
15 January 2011
As far as I can work it out, 2 months after he fell off the perch, a nun somewhere else was miraculously cured of Parkinsons disease and that evidently qualifies him for saintship.
I think I must be next in line.
I've been performing similar feats for years.
One company I used to work for turned instantly profitable the year after I left.
Another time, I folded my umbrella and it stopped raining, although Mrs jb claims it was the other way round. (Not much in it, though)
And - as final proof - Mrs jb's recent cold (that she supposedly contracted from me) disappeared an amazing FOUR DAYS after mine went away.
So I'm waiting for a call from a phone number starting with 0039.
There is a downside, though.
It appears that you actually have to be a deceased person to receive the honour. (Probably even Catholic, but I'm sure they'll make an exception in my case.)
The fate of my namesake (pictured above) is a case in point, so I might just drop the Vatican a note, asking them to wait until nature takes its course.
I'll tell them that they should reserve the "Patron saint of beer-drinkers" thingie for me....
13 January 2011
Given that GDP growth has been in the range of "sod all to oops" over the past couple of years (2008:1%, 2009:-4.88%, 2010:-2.88%) doesn't this chart REALLY say that we're not quite back where we were in 2006 and that the significant growth this year is REALLY only folks buying stuff that they haven't bought for the past 2 years?
But I've probably got it wrong and one of the professors (International business/Geology/Biochemistry/Maths) is bound to make me look like the fool that I really am.
12 January 2011
Bloody hell, talk about a digital native...
Gather round children and I'll tell you a story
The A: and B: drives were used for data storage media called floppy disks.
I'm too young [sic] to have experienced the 8" disk, but the 5¼" (720kB - about 40 seconds of mp3 music) and 3½" (half a pop song...) were the only removable consumer media in the 1980s and 90s.
But you could fit the ENTIRE MS-DOS operating system on a 5¼" disc and - by discarding some unnecessary bits - Microsoft Word would fit on a 3½" disc.
I know this, because my first PC had a 5¼" disc as a hard drive.
It cost me US$200 (in 1986, that was a LOT OF MONEY) to buy and have a 3½" drive fitted so that I could DO stuff.
My second PC was better.
It had a 100MB hard drive and only cost DM3000.....
11 January 2011
MTV Europe kicked off in 1987 with Dire Straits's "Money for nothing".
It was quite phenomenal.
It had smart and witty VJs from all over Europe, live acts in the studio and a sense of humour.
And it had Ray Cokes who was the worthy successor to the BBC's manic and uniquely talented Kenny Everett.
Now all you get is recycled dubbed Reality TV crap from the USA.
I know that I've marginally slipped outside their core target group, but does it have to be so bloody INANE.
Fortunately, it's only available on PayTV these days. Thank God for small mercies.....
Here's some more Ray Cokes and if you don't laugh at it, sod off to somewhere even more boring
10 January 2011
Ours cost €1500, it's now worth sod-all and threepence and you can get a brand spanking new one with a screen the size of a barn door for about €600 at the moment.
I have no idea how much the Skyhawks cost the New Zealand government back in 1970, but I know the story behind it all.
I know, because I was there.
In 1967, the RNZAF was trying (and heroically failing) to turn me into a navigator. Failing primarily due to my utter lack of navigation skills and the fact that they had too few aircraft to risk me with one.
The fact is that New Zealand's surrounded by a shitload of water and water tends not to feature railway lines or roads or power lines that you can follow home when you're lost.
But having signed the Official Secrets Act, we were privy to strategic planning stuff so that we (well, not ME, but the others..) knew which aircraft we'd be flying.
We were going to buy some new aircraft.
At the time, fighters were De Havilland Vampires (first flight: 1943....) and strike aircraft were English Electric Canberras (first flight: 1949...)
Which wasn't a real problem, because New Zealand had no real enemies and they got to play the usual war games with Australia and the US and provide support for the Royal Air Force in the Suez conflict and the Malayan Emergency.
Things got a bit tricky, though, when Air New Zealand introduced its first jet aircraft in 1965.
Because a DC8 was faster at cruise than a Vampire or Canberra was at full tack.
Embarrassing, to say the least.
So Treasury looked at the hardware budget and told the airforce how much they could spend.
It wasn't much.
The staff officer from Wellington who came down to Wigram said something like "Well, we can afford half an F-111 or 2 and a bit Phantoms. The Americans have got a REALLY good deal on Skyhawks, though, so we're going to buy 14 of them. Not new, of course, but in really good nick. AND they've got arrestor hooks"
Everyone looks blank, knowing full well that New Zealand doesn't have an aircraft carrier.
"Not that we can actually USE them" he continued " but maybe the Aussies and Yanks will let us land on theirs, so we're going to paint a carrier deck on the runway at Ohakea and practice there"
Honestly. I'm not making this up.
So the 14 Skyhawks turned up in 1970 and 75 Squadron proceeded to do what fast jet squadrons do, which is to train like crazy and take part in ANZUS exercises. (In which they regularly showed the Aussies and Yanks what hitting targets is all about)
And then in 1984, the new Labour government declared New Zealand off-limits for anything nucular (thus pronounced so that the Americans knew what they were talking about)
To which the Yanks said "Well, you can't play with us anymore, then"
So 75 Squadron proceeded to do what fast jet squadrons do, which is to train like crazy.
It only took another 17 years for another Labour government to say what everyone had known all along:
"We don't need a strike capability, because there's no-one to local to strike and the people who actually DO need striking are too far away"
Exit all fast jet pilots to the RAAF and RAF.
What to do with the Skyhawks?
"We'll sell them"
"No you won't" said the Yanks "Not with all that good avionic stuff in them, anyway"
And so they just sat there for 10 years, with various wide boys popping up out of the woodwork with tiresome frequency and presenting rubber cheques for a bunch of aircraft that date back to a design as old as I am.
So if you're looking for a birthday present or a belated Christmas present for someone who could use something like that, just write to the NZ Gummint.
I'm sure they'll be pleased to hear from you.
Gift-wrapping free of charge
09 January 2011
A young Aussie moved to London and went to Harrods looking for a job.
The manager asked 'Do you have any sales experience?'
The young man answered 'Yeah, I was a salesman back home in Dubbo.'
The manager liked the Aussie so he gave him the job.
His first day was challenging and busy, but he got through it.
After the store was locked up, the manager came down and asked, 'OK, so how many sales did you make today?'
The Aussie said 'One!'
The manager groaned and continued, 'Just one? Our sales people average 20 or 30 sales a day.
How much was the sale for?' '£124,237.64p.'
The manager choked and exclaimed £124,237.64!! What the hell did you sell him?'
'Well, first I sold him a small fish hook, then a medium fish hook and then I sold him a new fishing rod.'
'Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down at the coast, so I told him he would need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him that twin-engine Power Cat.'
'Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to car sales and I sold him the 4 x4
The manager, incredulous, said, 'You mean to tell me...a guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and a 4x4?'
'No, no, no... he came in here to buy a box of tampons for his girlfriend and I said... 'Well, since your weekend's buggered, you might as well go fishing.'
If giving up smoking is one of your New Year resolutions, Pfizer has just the thing for you.
Shame about the side-effects, though.....
Some people have had changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions while using CHANTIX to help them quit smoking. Some people had these symptoms when they began taking CHANTIX, and others developed them after several weeks of treatment or after stopping CHANTIX.
If you, your family, or caregiver notice agitation, hostility, depression, or changes in behavior, thinking, or mood that are not typical for you, or you develop suicidal thoughts or actions, anxiety, panic, aggression, anger, mania, abnormal sensations, hallucinations, paranoia, or confusion, stop taking CHANTIX and call your doctor right away. Also tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems before taking CHANTIX, as these symptoms may worsen while taking CHANTIX.
Do not take CHANTIX if you have had a serious allergic or skin reaction to CHANTIX. Some people can have serious skin reactions while taking CHANTIX, some of which can become life-threatening. These can include rash, swelling, redness, and peeling of the skin.
Some people can have allergic reactions to CHANTIX, some of which can be life-threatening and include: swelling of the face, mouth, and throat that can cause trouble breathing. If you have these symptoms or have a rash with peeling skin or blisters in your mouth, stop taking CHANTIX and get medical attention right away.
The most common side effects include nausea (30%), sleep problems, constipation, gas and/or vomiting.
06 January 2011
04 January 2011
"Ei, mer habbe doch grad die Maschine saaber g'macht"
(Oh no, we've just finished cleaning the slicer...")
Subsequently you'll be referred to in the village as "Der do der immer kurz vor Schluss zum Fleischää kimmt und will aach noch soi Zeusch immer dinn geschnidde habbe"
("That bloke who always turns up just before closing and wants his ham thinly sliced")
It happens in America, too, which does surprise me, given that it's generally considered to be an oasis of service-orientation.
Stonewall Kitchen started off in 1991 as two guys selling home-made jams and vinegars at local produce markets.
We stumbled over them in the mid to late 1990s after they'd expanded into tiny premises in a strip mall in York, Maine with a kitchen in the back where they'd make 10 gallon batches of preserves.
These days, they're nationally known with 8 company stores and a classy flagship store just outside York, selling virtually everything you could possibly use in a kitchen and still with hand-written (sort of) labels.
And they have a café.
Look at the menu and you just KNOW it's going to be good.
Which it is.
Except when you go there at 3:30 (they're nominally open until 4pm), they've cleared out the displays and you get your coffee served in a paper cup "because we close at 4..."
Or when you ask for your breakfast English muffin toasted and un-buttered and they tell you that THEY (the standard "wellit'snotMYfault" cop-out) butter all the muffins first thing in the morning and no, THEY can't give you an un-buttered one.
And if you write to them, pointing out just how silly this is, Liz Fabale, the café manager will write the following vapid response:
I know what she's really saying, but until I am more limber, the anatomical manoeuvre she suggests is not physically possible for me at this time.
It must be me.