Stimulus Links  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

The stimulus package....political self-gratification at its finest.

Steven Landsburg makes a good point about twilight industries (for example, those pandered to most sloppily during the primary season):

Ultimately, the only solution to unemployment is for displaced workers to get retrained and find their way back into the workforce. The new stimulus package only delays that process by propping up dying industries for a while and postponing the day of reckoning. Ultimately, there will be just as much hardship because the stimulus package can't last forever. Why spend all this money trying -- and probably failing -- to delay the inevitable?

Japan in particular moved their economy extremely quickly from Industrial Revolution-era industries to high-tech ones by subsidizing the losers: paid re-training for computer skills, severance packages for older workers, and other more subtle (keyword: market-tweaking) measures.

Also today, I'm going to do the unthinkable: link to a Bob Herbert post. Okay, so it's still sophomorically written and over-simplified, but it's one meta-issue on which I agree with Mr. Herbert (can I have that job??). Read Investing in the U.S. at the NY Times; the crux of the issue is that the nation's infrastructure is falling behind the rest of the world and more importantly, behind the capabilities of our economy. Mr. Herbert reminds us that government spending on public works is good for economic stimulus, pointing to the Erie Canal and the New Deal. OK, great. Obvious, but true. Let's not wait for another I-35 Bridge Collapse or Hurricane Katrina to prove that our roads, bridges, dams, ports, trains, etc. are out-moded.

Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution noted recently that it would be more beneficial for everyone who got money back to invest in annuities so that the feds could borrow at low interest rates for us. I think he hits the nail on the head by saying that inadequate aggregate demand was never the problem, and thus, greater liquidity isn't a solution. Read his always-cogent comments here.

Finally, Greg Mankiw, never one to beat around the bush, puts together a list he calls The Coalition Against Fiscal Stimulus, including Mr. Landsburg, Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Rev., Russ Roberts and Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek, and a host of others.

1.26.08 Dog Walking, Part 2  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

One little guy I didn't have a camera phone picture of:

The yellow tag means he's adopted.

The other dachshund:

And a chihuahua:

Here's the little brown pup:

And the pit bull:

1.26.08 Dog Walking, Part 1  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

These were from my camera phone, better quality photos to come.

Miss Bee with a tan puppy of unknown breed:

The pit bill I took out at the same time:

Her little ears were cut off or something, but she was really playful.

And so was the little pup. A representative photo:

Later I took out a little-ish German shepherd, but her left hind leg was lame so I just socialized her a bit.
And here I've slipped in the bad photo of me that I promised two weeks ago:

Then Miss B. took out a white long-haired dachshund mix that was cute but a little timid.

Here's a schnozz-full:

So little...

Finally, I took out a Rottweiler that was humongous but remarkably gentle. Horrible photography commences:

I've decided that larger dogs, especially German shepherds and other non-terriers are the most difficult to take a good picture of, so sorry for that if those are your favorites.

Stay tuned for more and better pictures.

Chickpea Vindaloo and Lassi  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

Another sort of two for one deal today. I've been lazy about uploading photos from the camera so sometimes old meals just kind of sit there. Miss B. made this chickpea vindaloo Friday night, found on the internet.

The basic idea is garbanzo beans, peeled potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, and several different spices (cumin, turmeric, bay leaf, and a cinnamon stick). You can also see some yogurt cheese on the spoon, plain Greek style yogurt is in there as well.

Served with vegetable rice from our gracious Las Vegas hostess.

We also had a couple of beverages with our dinner; one was lassi, a traditional cold Indian drink (that I thought might help cool my tongue), the other was a Pacific Northwest IPA, whose citric and pine aromatics generally complement and lift spicy Indian food off the palate.

The lassi (yogurt thinned with water and sweetened with sugar and honey) did the job just fine; the beer (Full Sail IPA) was too peppery, with not enough bright hopping. Generally too British. Oh well.

Here's the poster from Miss B.'s room that gave me the idea.

Finally, here's the two for one part: spinach and basil lasagna we made sometime last week. Pretty straightforward: ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and freshly grated Parmesan, along with fresh basil and plenty of spinach. The red sauce was pretty straight ahead too.

The recipe was from Andrea's Recipes blog. Frankly, hers looks way better. But ours was good.

Becker-Posner Blog  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

Click on the photo to read the first paragraph

I feel that it's about time that I mention Gary Beckner and Richard Posner's blog. Becker is a Nobel laureate economist and Posner is a decorated law scholar. The format is an every-Sunday long-ish essay on a topic by one, with the other providing their thoughts and somewhat briefer commentary in the next post (same day).

I have shared with my reading public their most recent post on the Black-White Income Differential. You can find Becker's essay in my "Google Reader Shared Posts" on the right-hand sidebar. For Posner's comments, click here.

The photo above is the header for the blog, and a teaser for Becker's portion.

The Freakin' Frog  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

We went to Las Vegas for Martin Luther King weekend. No good photos really, but we visited a great beer bar in town. **Updated** Here's a camera phone picture I forgot about.

Here was my Beer Advocate review:

Not exactly The Strip experience. The Freakin’ Frog, across the street from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas is, however, a rather terrific beer bar. Housed in an ugly, window-free space in a run-down strip mall, the interior is dingy and extremely dark, lit mostly by big screen TVs and a large projector screen. The seating areas and stage are likewise sparse. There is really only one good reason to go to the Frog, and that’s for their extensive list of beers: twelve taps by my count, and an extensive list of imported and craft beers housed in a three-ring binder.

The taps ranged from Pabst Blue Ribbon to Chimay White, while the bottled list can take you from Mickey’s Malt Liquor up through several Belgians that will put you back $30 or more. Editorially, it is frustrating to find a beer that you would really enjoy trying but find that it’s price is listed as RESERVE. Others have insinuated that the pricing for reserve beers is arbitrary; while I could see that being true for Westvleteran, I asked about Rochefort 10 and my bartender looked it up on his register.

The prices reflect a significant mark-up over a beer store, understandable given that maintaining that selection is difficult, time-consuming, and under-appreciated by most of their college crowd. On that note, the bar was mostly empty, with a few congregated around the bar and two booths filled. We had no food.

I enjoyed a Delirium Tremens, followed by Chimay White from the tap, switched to a bottled Tripel Karmeliet, and back to the keg for a Sierra Nevada Anniversary. All were served in appropriate glassware (Delirium and Chimay in brewery glass) at a proper temperature by a knowledgeable and friendly tender, who also put up with my requests to check on this or that RESERVE beer.

The Freakin' Frog can be perused online at

Two for one food blogging.  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

We got all this kitchen equipment for Christmas, and then I stop blogging dinners. Sorry.

Here are some shout-outs: new pot.

And the spaghetti it begot:

As usual served with a dollop of yogurt cheese, this one featured baby bella mushrooms that were great.

The next dish was a lentil soup with saffron yogurt that sustained us for several days.

Lentil soup in the crock pot I brought back from home:

Lentils, mushrooms, lots of vegetables including kale, onion, etc. It was good.

An un-great photo of our new strainer and one of the new knives with the kale (thanks Mom):

Another one of the yogurt with the soup next to it:

The yogurt was made by simply mixing Greek-style plain yogurt with a few pinches of saffron that had been steeped in about a tablespoon of boiling water.

Back to MCACC  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

That's Maricopa County Animal Care and Control to you.

Sorry for a half-cocked post. I'll figure out how to center this thing and work out the other kinks. Whatever.

Also, I left off the promised picture of me looking dumb. Maybe another day.

Reader Request: Family Picture  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

Joe, you're in luck. My printer just arrived in the mail, in time to scan this lovely family photo featuring Miss Bee. The colors seem a little darker, but you get the main ideas.

Experimenting with long-form music posts  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

So I've undertaken the giant and thankless task of properly tagging and organizing my iTunes library. I started with my "R & B/Funk" genre first, all 958 songs worth (none of this includes the 50+ GB on my external hard drive). After three weeks I'm into the artists beginning with S (caveat 2: I'm not listening to each individual song by artists whose entire albums I have, just singles, 7" records, B sides, the occasional re-pressed 12", etc.). As I've gone along, I've been making modern day mix tapes, going by alphabetical order.

Going under the pseudonym of "Pickle", I'm releasing a four volume set of mixes available to the general public for the right price: a friendly comment if you actually download and listen to the damn thing.

For "Pickled Soul, Volume 1: A-F", I have used a MacFUSE-based application called iTunesFS to easily create a Finder folder of all my iTunes playlists, and used the generic Mac OS X "archive" function to create a ZIP file of my playlist.

All you should need to do is click to download the zip file and unpack it (email me if you have questions).

Anyways, here is the ZIP file.

Tracklisting (which will appear just like this if you use iTunes):

A nice soulful mix of old R & B, doo wop, soul, and funky jams from back in the day. Enjoy!

Dog walking '08: Part 1  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

Trying something new today: here's a Google Docs presentation of the pictures we took today. It should be pretty straightforward: click on the right-pointing button to go to the next slide.


I was on the phone with Grandma Venita while walking the Shar pei mix; only one (bad) picture.

And how cute is that little dachshund?

1st food post of '08  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

And it's a doozy: fresh mozzarella, seasoned, with basil leaves and tomato paste. We were going to put alfalfa sprouts on too, but forgot. Oh, and that's whole wheat French bread.

Twin Peaks, Season 1  

Posted by Wayne Bretski

Complete. Wow. I am absolutely on the edge of my seat for season 2. This is great stuff.

Who shot Cooper??

We Got Our Kicks...  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in ,

On Route 66. Now we're home and regularly scheduled blogging at random should resume soonly. Look for new apartment pictures soon, shot with our new Canon Powershot.

Also, in honor of the Iowa Caucus events, I'm re-posting a Russell Roberts quote that should be remembered whenever you get too giddy about a candidate:

Don't expect pigs to fly, cats to bark or politicians to act as if they care about us. They care about us if it helps them prosper. If it doesn't, they care about more important influences.

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