Thursday, October 26, 2006

Psychopharmacology Update

Need a quick burst of moral superiority to overcome those after-lunch doldrums? The new pill form of Immaculexzor (Pfluger Pharmaceuticals' trade name for hydrabenzo-3,4-ditetroethylbutylate) may be for you. In short-term trials, 52% of subjects reported improved feelings of complacency. In double-blind laboratory trials (consisting of Judge Judy with the sound turned off) patients were 37% more confident of their ability to identify which disputant occupied the moral high ground. Compulsive hand washing was reduced by up to 75%. Excessive symptoms of injured innocence may be a sign of a serious short-term side effect. Immaculexzor has has been in use for less than a year, so the incidence of long-term side effects is zero. Remember, only your doctor can evaluate what level of righteous indignation is right for you.

Immaculexzor has been voluntarily withdrawn from the market after what a Pfluger spokesperson described as an "unprecedented number" of "very strange lawsuits."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Chambered Nautilus

The chambered nautilus is born with a multichambered shell (at left). Throughout its life, it gains safety from predators by migrating toward the center of this impressive structure. Truly a miracle of nature.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

We're taking our kid to the Haunted House (picture). Ooooooooh, spooky! I hate it when those ugly ... things ... jump out at me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Banks Eat My Garbage

In the wake of the bear incident, the back yard is a mess. My wife suggested that I securitize the garbage.

That is a really brilliant solution. It's the same thing mortgage lenders do when they suspect that their own ... back yards are filled with, well, garbage. Securitize it: lump all the garbage together in a big pile, and then sell shares. It's a great deal for investors because it's diversified. Diversified means basically "what are the chances that this stuff is all garbage? Most of it must be good stuff." The sophisticated strategy that US savings banks used to protect themselves from Michael Milken's machinations in the '80s was another form of diversification: they didn't just buy one of his obviously unsound bond issues, they bought them all.

So, physically, in principle, sure, the garbage is still spread all over the back yard. But legally speaking it belongs to a syndicate of banks. Let them come and wrestle with the bears.

Unfortunately that's not quite what she meant by "securitize." Turns out we need to make the garbage shed more secure, like for example attach the door to its hinges.

I also have to pick up the garbage. If you've nominated me for the economics Nobel, now would be a good time for a quick temporizing email to Stockholm.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bears Eat My Garbage

A family of bears opened our new bearproof garbage shed and partied half the night. They could easily come inside and eat us too, but either they don't realize that or they're not that hungry. Not yet anyway.

On the plus side, though, this saves us the work of carrying the garbage to the curb. And it's landfill-free: this is an all-natural recycling process. Unfortunately the bears are picky eaters and they don't take much home "for later" so the back yard is a mess.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Seasons' Wheel, Leafed in Gold

Time to take my bicycling habit into the gym for the winter. Bye bye, endless parade of bat-blind Buickers and wallowing, zigzagging boat trailers. So long, idyllic rides only rarely interrupted by moments of near-lethal violence.

... and a cheery Hello! to the subtler pageantry of indoor exercise: the gym employee who loudly harangues her ex for 30 minutes at a time while he shuffles desperately on the treadmill; competition heating up in the locker room for the coveted "naked loitering fat guy" endurance award; guys who break pieces off the machines ("What's this thing for?"); folks who wrench the TV around so nobody else can see it then crank the volume all the way up; the cool swaggerer who quickly crippled himself on the treadmill and had to be hauled off to the showers in a bucket; and many more.

I just got my shin clawed open by a rabid spinning bike in the gym. In retrospect today's post seems sadly laced with imbecilic hubris. Subtle pageantry my aching leg.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


What did Jesus say at the last supper?

Any of you guys want your picture taken, get over on this side of the table.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pregnant Teens Take Charge

Often seen as victims, some pregnant teens are turning the tables, taking up smoking in a clever bid to make delivery less painful. The technique is based on research findings that smoking leads to reduced infant birth weight.

Via fark.


Cold and damp it may be, but the guacamole is excellent.