Hillary's Mexican Iconic Boo-Boo

A few blogs are making something out of Hillary's "faux pas" in Mexico:
During her recent visit to Mexico, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and left a bouquet of white flowers “on behalf of the American people,” after asking who painted the famous image.

Msgr. Monroy took Mrs. Clinton to the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been previously lowered from its usual altar for the occasion. After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked “who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded “God!”

So the blogs are saying Hillary should have known this. Although the argument is made that Hillary's staff should have briefed her about this, one can't be expected to know everything about a country he or she visits. Hosts should understand that. Indeed, I doubt the priest was offended.

Really, when you are looking at a painting, who doesn't wonder "who painted it?" Would it occur to anyone that it might be offensive to ask, because someone might think that "God painted it"? Give me a break. I give a lot of credit to Hillary for not laughing!

Ann says: I agree with most of that, except one report said she had been there 30 years ago. I thought tourism was supposed to broaden your mind. Apparently, the whole reason people flock to the icon completely escaped her.

The staff work in this administration is terrible. If there were a Republican in office, I would be starting to suspect sabotage by the notoriously biased staff at Foggy Bottom.

Movie List

Purely a vanity post. There is another "Best Movies" list out there. These pop up pretty regularly. It's not a bad list, though I think it's a bit heavy on the art-house/film studies class films. I really don't think a lot of those films stand up over time. For example, I remember just about nothing about "The 400 Blows." Just the scene where the kid drinks a quart of milk without stopping. That's art baby! Anyway, I re-ordered the list to my liking. The films with a "99" in front either I haven't seen, or I don't remember them well enough.

1 8 1/2 (1963) [Art film I like]
1 Alien (1979) [Aliens II as well]
1 Annie Hall (1977) [One of Allen's best, but I like many of his]
1 Blade Runner (1982) [Just saw it again. As good as ever.]
1 Dr. Strangelove (1964) [Hilarious]
1 The French Connection (1971) [Best chase scene ever.]
1 The Godfather (1972) [Just saw I and II. Very good.]
1 The Godfather, Part II (1974)
1 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968) [Like the whistling theme too]
1 It's a Wonderful Life (1946) [Zuzu's petals... classic]
1 Jaws (1975) [Smile you SOB!]
1 King Kong (1933) [Perhaps my favorite movie ever]
1 Nosferatu (1922) [Best vampire ever]
1 Rear Window (1954) [One of my fave Hitchcocks]
1 The Shawshank Redemption (1994) [#1 guy flick]
1 The Silence of the Lambs (1991) [Excellent. Hope I never see it again]
1 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) [Still best animated]
1 Star Wars (1977) [Empire is by far the better film]
1 The Third Man (1949) [I didn't "get" Cotton's attraction to the girl]
1 This is Spinal Tap (1984) [The amp that goes up to 11. Classic]
1 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) [A little dated]
1 The Usual Suspects (1995) [Would it be as good the second time?]
1 Vertigo (1958) [I kind of like The Trouble with Harry]
1 The Wizard of Oz (1939) [One of the best ever]
1 Casablanca (1942) [Diplomacy to end World War II?]
1 Citizen Kane (1941) [As good as they say]
1 The Exorcist (1973) [Saw it again a few years ago. Holds up well]
2 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) [Over-rated]
2 Apocalypse Now (1979) [Over-rated]
2 Blue Velvet (1986) [Bizarre is not the same as brilliant]
2 Bonnie and Clyde (1967) [Highly rated for cutting edge violence?]
2 Chinatown (1974) [Roman Polansky's best]
2 Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982) [Guilty pleasure]
2 Goldfinger (1964) [Best early bond?]
2 Groundhog Day (1993) [Fun]
2 The Maltese Falcon (1941) [Noirish favorite]
2 The Matrix (1999) [Though the "copper top" idea is idiotic]
2 Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) [Teen fave]
2 National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) [College!]
2 Psycho (1960) [Good, amazingly lame post-ending wrap up]
2 Pulp Fiction (1994) [Good, but over-rated]
2 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) [Good Clean Fun]
2 Rocky (1976) [Even this cynic was rooting for him]
2 Schindler's List (1993) [Best holocaust film. Is that a genre?]
2 Seven Samurai (1954) [Good, but over-rated]
2 Saving Private Ryan (1998) [Didn't like the modern scenes.]
2 Singin' in the Rain (1952) [A bit boring last time I saw it]
2 Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) [Please. Give me the original]
2 Toy Story (1995) [Good at the time. Now primative]
2 When Harry Met Sally (1989) [Fun]
2 Wings of Desire (1988) [Sorry sis. Over-rated]
2 Die Hard (1988) [Fun]
3 400 Blows (1959) [Can't be great if I don't remember it]
3 Blazing Saddles (1974) [Over-rated. Young Frankenstein better]
3 Breathless (1960) [See 400 Blows]
3 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) [Just saw it. Not that good]
3 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) [I didn't get it]
3 Do the Right Thing (1989) [Way over-rated, racist]
3 Duck Soup (1933) [Sorry. Most comedy doesn't age well]
3 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) [Didn't do it for me]
3 Enter the Dragon (1973) [Bruce Lee, don't remember it]
3 Goodfellas (1990) [Over-rated]
3 It Happened One Night (1934) [Boring]
3 Lawrence of Arabia (1962) [Boring]
3 The Lord of the Rings (2001) [Boring]
3 M*A*S*H (1970) [Not that funny]
3 Princess Mononoke (1999) [Over-rated. Akira is the only good Anime]
3 Raging Bull (1980) [Way, way over-rated]
3 Raise the Red Lantern (1992) [Don't remember much]
3 Rashomon (1951) [More cult of Kurosawa]
3 Rebel Without a Cause (1955) [Dated]
3 Some Like It Hot (1959) [Dated, not so funny]
3 The Sound of Music (1965) [Never liked it]
3 Sunset Blvd. (1950) [Just ok]
3 Titanic (1997) [Saw about 10 minutes. Enough]
4 The Graduate (1967) [Dates terribly]
4 Modern Times (1936) [Sorry, not a Chaplin fan]
4 The Lady Eve (1941) [Dated comedy]
99 Wild Strawberries (1957) [I like a lot of Bergman, but haven't seen this]
99 The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) [Never seen more than a few minutes]
99 Women On the Verge of Nervous Breakdown (1988) [nope]
99 The World of Apu (1959) [huh?]
99 In the Mood For Love (2001) [huh?]
99 Network (1976) [haven't seen it]
99 On the Waterfront (1954) [haven't seen it]
99 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) [haven't seen it]
99 Paths of Glory (1958) [haven't seen it]
99 Roman Holiday (1953) [haven't seen it]
99 The Searchers (1956) [haven't seen it]
99 12 Angry Men (1957) [haven't seen it]
99 The African Queen (1952) [haven't seen it]
99 All About Eve (1950) [haven't seen it]
99 The Battle of Algiers (1967) [haven't seen it]
99 The Bicycle Thief (1948) [haven't seen it]
99 Blow Up (1966) [haven't seen it]
99 Bringing Up Baby (1938) [haven't seen it]
99 Double Indemnity (1944) [haven't seen it]
99 Grand Illusion (1938) [haven't seen it]
99 A Hard Day's Night (1964) [haven't seen it]
99 M (1931) [haven't seen it]

Ann Says: These are the ones I've seen and you haven't. Of them, I can only really recommend Bringing Up Baby, which is a fun screwball comedy:

Bringing Up Baby (1938) [good screwball comedy, not as good as His Girl Friday. Philadelphia Story, with similar cast, tops them both.]
The African Queen (1952) [okay, fun to see Hepburn and Bogart]
12 Angry Men (1957) [best the first time, too much for rescreening]
On the Waterfront (1954) [loved this when I saw it in college, perhaps not so much now]
Roman Holiday (1953) [saw it recently, not great]
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) [Boring]
All About Eve (1950) [overrated]
Women On the Verge of Nervous Breakdown (1988) [don’t remember]

Making your side feel comfortable

This article appeared in the LA Times this week:
Conservative talk radio on the wane in California

Tune in to conservative talk radio in California, and the insults quickly fly. Capturing the angry mood of listeners the other day, a popular host in Los Angeles called Republican lawmakers who voted to raise state taxes "a bunch of weak slobs."

[...] But for all the anti-tax swagger and the occasional stunts by personalities like KFI's John and Ken, the reality is that conservative talk radio in California is on the wane. The economy's downturn has depressed ad revenue at stations across the state, thinning the ranks of conservative broadcasters.

For that and other reasons, stations have dropped the shows of at least half a dozen radio personalities and scaled back others, in some cases replacing them with cheaper nationally syndicated programs.
One of the "dropped" shows is just silly. John Ziegler had the 6-9 pm hours, but he left pretty suddenly for undisclosed reasons. He went on to make "Media Malpractice" a well-publicized and excerpted documentary on the election. (He was the one standing outside of the voting places asking Obama supporters about his positions, and being answered with vacant stares and nervous laughter.)

He was also replace by a locally-produced conservative show. So, it's not like that slot was turned over to something completely different. All that happened was the host changed.

I thought at the time that the LA Times was being sloppy, and shading their evidence to make their liberal readers feel good. Now this from the Whittier Daily News (an LA suburb):
Kobylt and Chiampou [aka the John and Ken mentioned above in the LA Times piece], whose radio ratings have skyrocketed by 30 percent since the first of the year, hammered home these points during all four hours of Thursday's show (3 to 7 p.m.), urging listeners to join the tax revolt, join the recall efforts, join the campaign against Proposition 1A.
So, a bunch of conservative hosts get replaced by other conservative hosts (I checked, and the local Larry Elder got replaced by the national Mark Levin,) and at least one show has seen its ratings skyrocket. This story isn't about conservative radio being in trouble, this is a story about ad revenue declining across the board. I think the LA Times knows a thing or two about that little problem in the media industry.

Steve Says: Sorry to hear about Larry. I like his libertarian leanings.

Farmers' Markets

There is some buzz about the an obnoxious new bill the Democrats are proposing that would effectively shut down Farmers' Markets
What this will do is force anyone who produces food of any kind, and then transports it to a different location for sale, to register with a new federal agency called the “Food Safety Administration.” Even growers who sell just fruit and/or vegetables at farmers markets would not only have to register, but they would be subject inspections by federal agents of their property and all records related to food production.

As an aside, I note that many of the "Farmers' Markets" I've been to recently are pretty phony. When I see grapes, papaya and corn in June in downtown Boston at a "Farmers' Market" I wonder what the point is. Judging by the labels on discarded boxes you can find at these things, the farmers in question are living in Guatemala.

AIG Bonus

Well, this Sullivan guy, a VP at AIG, has earned his bonus:

"In all candor, I don't know why they're so exercised by some bonuses. These pathetic excuses for politicians cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars and, worst of all, they're still in power."
Krebs noted that Frank, Dodd, Maxine Waters (D-CA) and a host of other Democrats were largely responsible for the entire mortgage meltdown through their decade-long fight against regulation of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"Recall that in 2004, Alan Greenspan warned of a systemic risk to the economy and, even earlier, the White House tried repeatedly to rein the GSEs in. But, no, B-B-B-arneys Fwank and Kwistopha Dudd were protecting their donors," Krebs said, mocking the portly Frank.

Times change

I think the first computer I owned had a 32MB hard drive. (It also cost over $2k.)

Right now, one of our Mac laptops is downloading a "Security Update" which is 167MB--5 times bigger than my first drive...and it's just an update!

Political Suicide

I guess the Obama administration can't take it any more and have decided to end it all...
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.

Douthat... When the Walls Fell?

That sneaky Jonah Goldberg, trying to sneak a Star Trek reference into the Corner!

I'll be surprised if anyone catches it.

That episode is a favorite of fans. I thought it preposterous though to think that an advanced civilization could have a language based entirely on metaphor

The Tamarian language is unintelligible to the Starfleet's universal translators, because it is too deeply rooted in local metaphor, so its sentences do not have any meaning to other civilizations.
So instead of saying "take the second derivative of the integral with respect to time," you would tell a story where some guy in the planet's history did just that, and people around you would know what you mean.

Think about the practicality of that. Another example... You want to tell your friends that you would like to go to with the south side of town to get a pizza, stopping on the way to drop off some groceries at your grandma's. Just think of some historical event where that happened and mention that event! It's just that easy.

Also it bugged me that the alien, Dathon, went through the entire episode baffled as to why Captain Picard hadn't any clue what Dathon was talking about. Wouldn't an advanced civilization with that sort of language know, and know why, their language was unintelligible to someone outside their culture?

Ann says: Oh, come on! It was obvious he was referencing something, and if you've ever seen that episode, the whole "and the walls fell" metaphor sticks in your mind.

I mean I'd be surprised if anyone at NR gets the reference. KJL and Co. might think he's referring to Joshua at Jericho.

When Couches are Outlawed...

...only outlaws will have couches!
Pittsburgh City Council today gave its unanimous, initial approval to legislation banning mattresses, box springs, sofas and upholstered chairs from city porches, primarily to prevent the celebratory burning of such items, as has happened repeatedly in Oakland.

..."One idiot that decides to place an accelerant on the wood of that porch, and that whole row of houses could go up."

If they want my porch couch, they will have to pry it from my cold dead hands.

2nd bubble under pressure

I figure the next bubble to burst will be college education. How many parents want to pay for 6 years of partying, or pay to see their kid come out the other side as the next great scholar of gay-minority-womens' studies.

There are signs around here of trouble in the education markets. The acceptance letters went out this past weekend for private high schools in Los Angeles, and surprisingly, I've heard no stories of kids missing out on their first choice. In previous years, only the well-connected or well-heeled got into some of the toniest schools. This year, they're taking everybody.

Why? Well, from talking to fellow grade school parents over the weekend, economic pressures must be hitting these schools hard. We know of several families that are trying to move into areas with acceptable public systems, so they don't have to pay as much for their kids' education, or so they can save their money for high school and college. If that carries over the entire market around here--remember the entertainment industry has been hit hard for years--that means that a lot of spaces are opening up at all these schools, applications are probably down, and acceptance letters are going out in abundance, because schools are worried a lot of families will look at the price tag and the economy and decide it isn't worth it.

My guess is that the exact same thing is going on at the national level with colleges. Only there, they are likely being hit very hard by the tanking of the stock market. All of those education savings accounts are worth about half of what they were a few months ago. Where families might have figured that they had enough to get their kids through a 4-year school, they are now looking at only enough for 2 years. Sorry kid, no private school for you--you're going to State U!

In addition, how many people would choose this moment to take out student loans?

Watch for it in the next few months, as students get their letters and have to make their decisions. Public/cheaper schools are going to be swamped. Private schools will be very worried.

(Cross posted on Square Dots.)

More on bad displays of data

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a graph has to meet certain guidelines to be useful. Quiz question, what's wrong with this graph?

(From Mark Perry's Carpe Diem)

Answer: The two vertical axes change at different rates. A step of 2,000 on the left (men) doesn't move as far up the graph as a step of 2,000 on the right (women). That makes direct comparisons quite difficult. The slopes of the lines can not be compared.

As for the data. Sorry guys, as with most things these days, you're out of luck. And you wonder why men are always portrayed as idiots on TV! You're losing, we're winning, get used to it.

Addendum: This is interesting...
Further analysis shows that 72% of the job losses (3.483 million) were jobs held by males, and 22% of the jobs lost (981,000) were jobs held by females (see top chart above).
Check my arithmetic, but I could swear that adding the men and women together should add up to 100%, not 94%. Who exactly are the other 6%? Hermaphrodites from Jupiter?

Update again: Mr. Perry fixed his post to show 78% of jobs were from men, 22% for women. He also showed bad form and removed my comment on his post pointing out the error.

Update: Glenn Reynolds also linked to Mark Perry's post today. Of course, I beat him to it.

It was so reasonable!

"It was so reasonable!" was my grandmother's favorite phrase. She'd by anything, as long as it was "reasonable." It didn't matter if she wanted it, needed it, or was ever going to use it. For her, a bargain was a great thing.

Obviously, my grandmother is not alone:
In extreme cases, homes are on sale for $1 or less..., which has enticed investors to Detroit from as far away as the United Kingdom and Australia.

"They're coming to us, saying `Look, I want to buy 50, 100, 1,000.' They want to own every decent and cheap house they can find."

These people have obviously know nothing about Detroit. But at least they've got a bargain house in a ghost town!

(From Yahoo news, via Carpe Diem)

Krauthammer on Obama's Stem Cell Position

Charles Krauthammer is, as usual, exactly right. In this case, about Obama's new Stem Cell Policy:.

What Obama is doing is he's expanding the range of the federal funding of research involving embryonic stem cells. He is allowing the use of embryos that were created in fertility clinics and are not going to be used anymore.

Now, I supported that when I was on the president's council of bioethics and in my writing, which I suppose is why the White House invited me to the signing ceremony.

But I declined for three reasons. One is the president has left open the cloning of human embryos in order to destroy them in experiments. Secondly, he leaves open the creation of human embryos entirely for the purpose of research and experimentation.

And thirdly, he had a memorandum which he signed in which he talks about restoring the scientific integrity in government decisions, which is an outrageous attack on Bush.

I disagreed with where Bush ended up drawing the line on permissible research, but he gave in August of 2001 the single most morally serious presidential speech on medical ethics ever given, and Obama did not, even though I agree on where — I agree more on where he ended up.

So I think it was disrespectful. And in pretending, as Obama did, that there's never a conflict between ethics and science, he was wrong.

I suspect that they're not going to be asking me to any more signing ceremonies in the future.

Emphasis mine. All of Krauthammer's points are valid, but what irritates me most is the idea I have emphasised above. President Bush was absolutely right in his understanding that there are serious ethical questions about what sort of scientific research and medical practices should be permitted in our society. As biological science progresses at an ever faster rate, the need to address these questions will become even more pressing. President Bush got no credit at all for trying to lead the nation by bringing these issues to our attention.

Obama's position echoes the position of the anti-Bush crowd, which was never based on science or ethics, but rather on opposition alone. Indeed, the idea that there is no place for restrictions on scientific research is dangerously naive and ignorant of history.

Past accounts of appalling abuse of human subjects in scientific research are well known. Medical researchers today are typically required by their institutions to undergo training in ethics and on the history of unethical medical research that has been done in the past. That's the way it should be.

Experiments that are scientifically interesting are not necessarily acceptable ethically. Obama can stick his head in the sand for a few more years, but the issue isn't going away.

Ann says: I figure, if you aren't at least troubled by embryonic stem cell use, and how they are used, then you really aren't paying attention.

More asbestos! More asbestos!

A year or so ago, if you looked at the breakdown of what the federal government spends its money on, one of the biggest items, coming in around 25%, I believe, was the service charges and repayment of principle on the national debt.

Now we have at deficit that looks like this:

(From post at Powerline, referencing a graph from Strategas).

And that is before the Omnibus passes and every other spending program the Dems are planning.

So, my question is, how do we scale the amount of the budget that will be going to pay for the debt?

I think we've increased the overall debt by a couple of trillion in just the last few months, which amounts to 10-20% increase in a year. So, I guess we should be up around 27-30% of Bush's budget now going to service the debt.

What I keep thinking about is: where is the money coming from. It has to come from one of two places: 1) people/governments buying treasury bills, 2) the US government heating up the printing presses and making it out of thin air.

Both are troublesome. A large number of Japanese investors believe that the US is at risk of default. Whether that is true or not, a lot of investors will demand a better return on investment, because their investment looks riskier than it used to. Also, with China's exports tanking due to a global recession, they don't have asi much money to pay for our profligate ways. In addition, the unrest in the provinces in China which has been going on for years, is only going to intensify as more and more Chinese factories close. The Commies might just decide that money is better spent preserving their own skin and pacifying the peasants, than spent on our underwater mortgages. They too, might require a higher interest rate in order to get them to send their money to us. All of that makes the debt more expensive to us.

The second option is printing money, which is inflationary. Instead of taking the money out of China, the government will take it out of our pockets by making every dollar less valuable--the equivalent of a sales tax on every dollar spent.

Acting like a drunken sailor means one heck of a hangover when you sober up, not to mention chlamydia.

That Sinking Feeling

So it's 1:30am. I'm finishing up some work. Experience tells me that when it's late at night, and something comes into your head that starts you worrying...
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd is moving to allow the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to temporarily borrow as much as $500 billion from the Treasury Department.

... it's best to tell yourself it will all seem much better in the morning. The sun will be shining, and the ladies in the house will be smiling and wishing you a "good morning!" So I'm going to bed, and will try not to worry my little head.

Detroit again

Back when our mutual sister lived in Detroit, it was mostly known for 2 things, being a major epicenter for the crack epidemic, and Dr. Kevorkian. Even back then, she referred to the city as a "doughnut", with inhabited suburbs around outside and burned out or abandoned shells of public housing in the inside.

Today Detroit is rapidly heading into ghost-town territory. As my bro has already pointed out, the median house price in the city is down to $7,500, with no end in sight. Buyer's market? Well, it might be if there was anyone actually interested in buying a house in Detroit.

What I find interesting is the slow decline of Detroit, spread out over at least 20 years now, never gets mentioned, but the rapid decline of Katrina-stricken New Orleans does. Both cities are or were on life support. One because of a natural disaster and the other solely because of man-made problems.

So, the rule of thumb seems to be: If a massive natural disaster strikes, it's man's fault; but if man creates a massive disaster, it's no one's fault.

Ted Kennedy Gets a Knighthood

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Wednesday that Sen. Edward Kennedy has been awarded honorary knighthood.

Kennedy, 77, is battling brain cancer. He did not attend Brown's address to a Joint Meeting of Congress.

Brown told the senator on Tuesday night that Queen Elizabeth II had made him a member of British nobility.

Am I the only one who finds it unseemly for an American to accept a knighthood from the Queen of England? Should an American senator be a member of British Nobility?

Senator Kennedy should thank the Queen and Gordon Brown for the offer, but politely decline.

Ann says: technically knights aren't nobility. You have to be a baron or above for that one (baronet doesn't even count.) Lots of Americans have them, including, I think Casper Weinberger and Henry Kissenger. My guess is Teddy is getting one for his pro-Irish immigration stance over the years.

Still, I agree with you, honorary or not Americans should eschew such things as a matter of principle. I thought we left that garbage behind in 1776.

Questioning Climate Statistics

There is quite a discussion going on over at Watts Up With That regarding a paper that appeared in Nature. My sister has already commented on the study. The paper claims to have used statistical methods to demonstrate that the temperature of Antarctica has been rising for several decades. The discussion going on now at Watts Up With That is about the statistical methods used. Knowing enough of the math and statistics to understand much of the discussion, it's tempting to delve in further and see for myself if the study is sound. The study in question uses something called Regularized Expectation Maximization. A fundamental paper in the climate area on this is

Schneider, Tapio. "Analysis of Incomplete Climate Data: Estimation of Mean Values and Covariance Matrices and Imputation of Missing Values" Journal of Climate, Vol 14, 2001, pp 853-871.
From the abstract:

In contrast to the conventional EM algorithm, the regularized EM algorithm is applicable to sets of climate data, in which the number of variables typically exceeds the sample size.
More variables than data samples? Are they serious?

I salute the folks at Watts Up With That for questioning this study. But do we really need to go into the statistical detail here? Isn't it prima facie ridiculous to have more variables than data points in your analysis? The abstract tells us that this is common in the climate analysis field.

The more I look into climate science, the more skeptical I become.

Ann says: I should think that grade schoolers could figure this one out. When were we all taught that it takes 2 points to make a straight line? These guys must be geniuses; for them, it only takes one.

I'm Not Crazy

Someone else remembers this

Guess I am going to show my age with this one. Does anyone remember the t.v. show "Zoom" on PBS? There was a small part of the show that gave kids projects they could do. One show had a set of Styrofoam shoes that were as long as the kid was tall. On the bottom of these were some cut up venetian blinds with the strap still in place. To walk on the water it was the same movement that is used with cross country skiers. When these devices were slid forward over the water the blinds collapsed and would open for traction.
It was so long ago I wondered if I really saw this on tv. But someone else remembers. Ergo I'm not crazy.

I think of this show segment now and then when the subject of over-protection of children and over-lawyering comes up. Here was a tv show telling kids how to make shoes that would allow them to walk out into the middle of a lake. No reason for concern there! What liability could there be?

Ann says: Zoom had a second life in the 1990's when it came back for a couple of years. Still was a good show.

Speaking of overprotection: on Fox this morning they wasted time on the Obama's new outdoor playset for the kids. The Fox blonde's comment was that there wasn't the requisite cushioning mulch on the ground, and that the White House set might be in violation of the law!

Good grief. In my grade school, the climbing bars were all on knee-ripping asphalt.

Watchmen Review

From Debbie Schlussel

If you take your kids to see "The Watchmen," you're a moron.

If you see it yourself, you're also probably a moron and a vapid, indecent human being.
Don't edit yourself Debbie! Tell us how you really feel.

Motor City Blues

The median price of a home sold in Detroit in December was $7500.

You can see some houses for sale under $1000 here. Many of them look like they were once nice homes. How sad.

Yours for $920.

Found via Gateway Pundit.

Separated At Birth?

Commander USA

and The Comedian from Watchmen:

Rats, I wasn't the first to notice this.

I'm looking forward to the Watchmen movie about to come out. It's hard to believe it's been over 20 years since the "Illustrated Novel", i.e. comic book appeared. I bought it in the late 80s as a gift for my sister and co-blogger. But then I read it, then passed it around to friends. It never did make it to my sister. Sorry sis!

Last time I saw my copy was about 8 years ago. I read it again, then gave it away to a friend. What struck me was how dated much of it seemed. Jonah Goldberg is spot-on:

Much of the political vision of Watchmen – and Watchmen was a deeply political piece of work – is horribly outdated today and was, in the grand scheme of things, just plain wrong when it came out. Moore intended the book to be at least in part a biting indictment of Reagan and Thatcher and the Cold War in general. He saw the book as explicitly anti-Reagan, if not necessarily anti-American (Reagan doesn’t actually appear in Watchmen).


But the existential angst and moral nihilism that serves as the spine of the book isn’t a product of Reaganism, but of the left’s ill-advised, ahistoric, and self-indulgent response to Reaganism. And, oh yeah: let the word go forth that Reagan’s vision proved correct barely a few years after Watchmen’s release. Meanwhile, Moore’s political vision – in part because it was so wrong – seems like 80’s kitsch today, which may be one of the reasons so many people believe the book is untranslatable to the big screen.
Still, I'm interested to see how they've tried.

Sis says: Well, it's the thought that counts!