If you get offended by Napoleon Dynamite, you really ought to do some self-reflection on why you choose to take offense so easily. And while you’re doing it, you ought to lock yourself in a small room and try really hard to not inflict your idiotic oversensitivity on your fellow citizens. And if you choose not to do that, and instead to use your own idiocy to reduce your fellow citizens’s enjoyment of life, you are a Bad Person.
Well, sorta. Instapundit links to this list of fast food burgers that aren’t high in calories (with a line that I regard as an Insta-classic: “I’ve always felt the Whopper Jr. was underrated.”). I thought the list was worth pointing out because the burger with the most calories is the only one not from a fast food restaurant:
Notice how we haven’t mentioned sit-down restaurants until now? That’s because we were both shocked and saddened to learn that the majority of restaurant burgers top the 1,000-calorie mark and have more than 50g of fat. YIKES!
I’ve been getting pretty cranky at Austin-area restaurants over this exact issue. I can’t remember the last time I was in a non-fast-food restaurant that had a hamburger on its menu that weighed in at less than 8 ounces. I understand why restaurants do this – that extra two or three ounces of beef doesn’t cost much, but it does make the $10 price tag seem more reasonable.
But what if I want a burger and I don’t want to spend $10? What if I don’t want to have to make the terrible choice of over-eating, wasting food, or – most inglorious of all – leaving with part of a burger in a take-home box? What if I’m driving on a long trip and I don’t want to feel uncomfortable for the last six hours of my drive? What if I just like a good bread-meat-topping ratio rather than the unbalanced jumbo burgers that most restaurants sell?
As best I can tell, if you want a reasonable-sized hamburger, you’re limited to fast food and greasy spoons. That’s right, for all the griping about how unhealthy fast food is, the fact is that it’s easier to eat healthy in a fast food restaurant than it is in a sit-down restaurant (where the incentive is to give you too much food so they can charge you too much money). As someone who has successfully dieted, I’ll say that it’s a lot easier to stick to a diet in a fast food restaurant than in pretty much any sit-down restaurant.
My personal pick? A Whataburger with grilled jalepenos comes in at 620 calories; that’s a healthy lunch for an averaged-sized guy, and the bread-meat-toppings ratio is perfect. Plus, it’s completely without the pretension that some restaurants engage in (I’m looking at you, Five Guys) that somehow making a burger sloppy makes it better. No, if your burger is sloppy or otherwise difficult to eat, it’s because you did it wrong.
The single most congested area in Austin is known as the Y. It’s where the road out of town splits into two highways. The intersection seems to have been built when no one lived near there, but it’s a nice area and this is a growing town, so now there are thousands of people out there clogging up an intersection built for a small fraction of its current traffic.
Fortunately, the geniuses at TxDOT have come up with a plan to aleviate some of this congestion short of building an expensive new roads. It involves some inovative lane usage, but that’s fine so long as it works. It’ll only cost $5.5 million and the simplest parts of the plan won’t take long to build. So great, right?
The work likely won’t begin until sometime in mid-2012 because TxDOT must hold public hearings, prepare an environmental impact analysis and get federal approval.
A year and a half before they can even start. Previous generations, who were more concerned about building things and improving life than in holding hearings and commissioning studies, built the Empire State Building in less time. Now days, we can’t even change a few stop lights and shift some lanes of traffic without at least a full calendar year of inactivity between starting and finishing the job.
In the mean time, as I attempt to climb my way up the economic ladder, higher taxes will make it harder for me to become a millionare. Liberals talk about taxes on high earners as though only the wealthy are the ones affected. But the wealthy already have their money and can shift it around in ways that doesn’t always produce income that’s taxable at the marginal rate. It’s the uppwardly mobile middle and upper-middle class that gets hit by high marginal rates. They don’t have vast sums of money lying around, and their income comes from their jobs and businesses, meaning they can’t hide it from the marginal rate. High marginal rates serve to keep these hard-working, high-earning, but not wealthy individuals from joining the ranks of the wealthy. In short, they keep the rich people rich, and the middle-class in the middle.
Once – just once – though, I want one of these undertaxed liberal millionaires to actually put his money where his mouth is. There he was, singing at the home of the CEO of the USA. All he’s got to do, if he thinks he should be taxed more, is to take out a checkbook and write a check. “Here you go, I think this country has been so good to me that I owe it another $50,000.” Someone on the president’s staff will know what to do with it. Perhaps a group of these liberal millionaires could get together, pool their funds, and then hold an event where they give someone from the treasury one of those giant photo-op checks they give contest winners. Show us how much you care, and perhaps we’ll start caring more too.
I’m not saying everyone who favors higher taxes needs to do this. But one would think, if paying more money to the government so it can spend more money is the moral imperative that some on the left make it out to be, that it would happen with some regularity. Those “Tax Me More Funds” that some Republican governors started last decade (IIRC, Mike Huckabee was the first to do so) were more than a little obnoxious, but they did make a valuable point. I thought we were supposed to be the change we want to see in the world, right?
Apollo posted this at 8:45 AM CDT on Friday, February 25th, 2011 as Grumblin Mumblins
So I didn’t have a great day yesterday. I tried to go to work and was stopped when parts of downtown Austin were literally impassable because the streets were sheets of smooth ice, and I was driving a rear-wheel drive pickup. After an hour of trying and failing to go work, I decided to go home and stop at the grocery store. I bought some stuff we needed for dinner and came home, but then I dropped the needed ingredients on my porch, breaking them (and it was black vinegar so it stank to high heaven). I went back to the grocery store, picked up some more vinegar and some fruit, and the total came to $6.66. The cashier – who had a long scraggly beard and long unkempt hair; in other words, he looked like a beast – suggested that today was my lucky day and I should buy some lottery tickets. I have never in my life bought lottery tickets, but for some reason the cashier’s words made sense. I stopped off at a gas station to buy tickets.
Actually, I failed to buy the tickets, because they wouldn’t let me buy lottery tickets with a debit card. But later in the day I somehow acquired American currency and bought some lottery tickets at a different gas station. And the drawing was today. Guess what: Read the rest of this entry »
I’m not sure why Meghan McCain is a public figure now, but she should cut it out.
A few weeks ago Dorothy and I saw her book in a Barnes & Noble. I said, “I’m going to open to a random page and the first sentence I read will be stupid.” I opened somewhere in the middle, where, I take it, it’s talking about the 2008 campaign. The sentence I read was (this may not be verbatim, but it’s not far off) “I thought that after the convention the campaign would slow down.” What kind of moron believes that presidential campaigns slow down after the nominating convention?
This multi-zillionaire heiress has a published book, allowing her to make money off of objectively stupid thoughts. And she’s on TV shows. And has a gazillion people following her Twitter feed. Now that Christine O’Donnell’s gone, I hope all the people who are so concerned about the rise of moronic women in the Republican party will turn their attention to Miss McCain.
[Barry] said Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and then stood by and criticized while Democrats pulled it out. Now that progress has been made, he said, “we can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”
It doesn’t make any sense. I have driven into and out of ditches, and I was once pulled out of a ditch. Just because someone pulls you out of a ditch doesn’t mean they get to drive your car or dictate who gets to sit where. Who gets to drive the car is determined by who owns the car. What sort of socialist crapland are we living in when someone gets to drive off in your car just because you drove it into a ditch? The Greeks long ago killed off the Persian notion that, as Cyrus would put it, the flute should be given to the best flute player. We have a system of justice that revolves around private property, thank you very much.
And just because you drove off into a ditch doesn’t mean you’ll do it again, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re a worse driver than the first shlub with a 4X4 to come along and pull you out. In fact, I’d say that driving off into a ditch and surviving is valuable experience; having learned a lesson from driving off into a ditch (i.e. the importance of countersteering), I’m less likely to run off in a ditch than someone who has less skills and fewer earned experiences.
This doesn’t even get started on more fundamental questions: were we going in the right direction before driving into the ditch? is the new driver going to take us in a better direction, or are we actually better off staying in the ditch? is the new driver just going to run us into a worse ditch? was the ditch, in fact, just a rough patch we needed to get over in order to get to our destination, and going around the ditch is just going to add lots of time to our overall itinerary?
This analogy is inane, and it could only come from someone who has no personal knowledge about driving into ditches. I don’t really care where Republicans drove us, but Barry is driving me nuts.
I’d hate to think that I’m one of those crotchety old people who frets at what kids do these days, but reality doesn’t really care what I think. The fact is that I’m disturbed by that level of texting. Not because it’s a “drug” or whatever the people in that story are saying, but because I can’t think of anyone I know who has 100 thoughts worth sharing in a day. I don’t think I know anyone who has 10. Personally, I may have 1 or 2, but that’d be on a very good day. And I’m much more interesting than the average teenager, who probably doesn’t have an interesting thought most months of the year.
If I had one message I could convey to my fellow citizens, it would be the following: “You’re not that interesting. I’m not that interesting. Your friends aren’t that interesting.” The talking on the phone while driving, texting while driving, texting while walking, obnoxious cell phone use in public spaces – it’s all premised on the belief that there are interesting things to be said. But that belief, by and large, is just wrong.
I’ve got enough faith in people to believe that in a few years we’ll adapt to our new ability to communicate instantly via multiple mediums and stop saying so much. There has to be a point past which even people as daft as teenagers will get bored.
P.S. Please don’t point out that the existence of this post contradicts the point of this post. I’ve managed to overcome the contradictions; I’m an Übermensch that way.
P.P.S. In the introduction toEveryday Drinking, Christopher Hitchens notes of alcohol: “The plain fact is that it makes other people, and indeed life itself, a good deal less boring.” Perhaps text messaging is more interesting when drunk? I’ll find a teenager to ask.
I’m not sure I understand the mindset whereby one person pulls into a parking garage and then proceeds to use someone else’s trunk as his personal picnic table. And, even if someone were to do such an offensive thing, I don’t understand why that person would pick the trunk of the shiny new car instead of the mid-80s beater sitting beside it. Or the three early-90s beaters across the aisle. Perhaps you simply hate people who take care of their cars? Whatever the reason, you picked the only car within 50 feet that looked like it had been taken care of.
Brown paper bags, when sat on a trunk and then slid around and rummaged in, leave scratches. Lots and lots of scratches. That I now have to exert effort to remove. Because you couldn’t be bothered to rummage through your paper bag before you got out of your car, nor could you be bothered to set the paper bag on the ground (or, at least, on your own trunk) while rummaging.
You’re a bad person, and I hope that fully loaded seagulls fly directly over your car for the rest of your days.
1. I object that my spring break coincided with Daylight Savings Time. It’s not just that I lost an hour, it’s that I lost an hour of my vacation. By the time I get that hour back in the fall, I’ll be employed and that hour will be mostly meaningless.
2. I drove to the east coast for a few days, away from my Central Time Zone home. Combined with DST, I lost two hours, but the sun, relative to what I’m used to, only adjusted by one hour. This is much more disorienting than DST normally is, and I think I’ll try to avoid inter-time zone travel on DST weekends.
3. I opened my laptop today for the first time since Saturday. Windows 7 told me that it was aware that DST occurred, but that it did not adjust the clock. I like Windows 7 a lot, but why wouldn’t it self-adjust? Does it think that I’m going to protest DST for the next eight months? I can’t think of a reason why the computer would tell me that DST occurred, but that I needed to manually adjust the time.
4. There’s an upside to being away from home for a few days. I’ve got one of those goofy atomic clocks that self-adjusts to remain accurate with the U.S. Naval Observatory clock. Every time DST strikes, though, it keeps adjusting itself over and over again, for days on end, making annoying sounds as it does so. So hopefully it’ll be over that by the time I get back home.
So the Navy has some new recruiting ads running, like this one:
“The call to serve has no form, yet I have clearly seen it in the eyes of men and women infinitely more courageous and more driven than most.”
WTF? I’d like to think that our Navy does a lot of technical things. They launch missiles, calculate whether ships will float, and blow crap up. Concepts like “infinity” should not be alien to them.
But there they are making an advertisement tossing around the word like it’s meaningless. It could only be true if 1. Most Americans have zero courage and zero drive, but people in the Navy have some of each or 2. People in the Navy have infinite courage and drive, while most Americans have finite courage and drive. Surely sailors’ respect for their countrymen is not so low as to let them believe the first, and let us all hope that their self-awareness is great enough to not let them believe the second.
Worse than being stupid, though, that line doesn’t even sound good. “Infinitely more…than most.” It goes way over the top in the comparative, then adds the a phrase that makes the whole thing sound confused. If you’re going to make an indefensible over-the-top statement, backing down later in the sentence only draws attention to how ridiculous your first statement was.
They need to use a new ad agency.
Apollo posted this at 7:47 PM CDT on Saturday, October 24th, 2009 as Grumblin Mumblins
The sorts of complaints that are getting aired about Obama’s speech to the children are correct in their end – Obama shouldn’t be making national speeches to schoolchildren – but, largely, wrong about why.
The correct why is thus: public education is a frickin’ joke. Students don’t take it seriously, teachers are mostly interested in protecting their tenure and benefits, and administrators and politicians view it as nothing more than a means to achieve their private ends.
Case in point: what the hell can the president say to children that will be of any use to anyone? He’s going to tell them to work hard and try to achieve? Wow, will that have any more effect than the twenty trillion other speakers students will be subjected to this year? I’ve been out of public schols for almost a decade, but back in my day I heard washed up football players telling me not to use drugs, old school marms telling me not to have sex, and prudes of various varieties warning me about the hazards of tobacco and booze. Administrators and teachers patted themselves on the back for their efforts to change our lives, but at the end of the day the kids who were going to do those things did those things, and those who weren’t going to do those things didn’t. The lectures, the assemblies, the endless Magic Johnson Don’t-Sleep-With-Thousands-Of-Women-Like-I-Did-Or-Else-Um-I-Guess-You’ll-Wind-Up-Famous-And-Wealthy-Like-Me videos – it all washed over us like water off a duck’s back.
The abstinence-only versus condoms-for-everyone fight, the evolution versus creationism fight, the liberal environmentalist indoctrination, the desire of politicians to use students as props – this is all irrelevant and stupid so long as the public education system is governed by low expectations.
Michael Barone has observed that America produces very mediocre 17 year-olds, but the world’s most competent 30 year-olds. I think he correctly chalked this up to the fact that people rise to whatever level they need to: expect very little of students, and you’ll get very little; expect a lot from adults, and you’ll get a lot.
Perhaps one day we’ll stop treating our teenagers like children and start demanding that they behave themselves well. Perhaps one day we’ll expect more from our elementary students than simply showing up somewhat consistently.
But it is not this day. And it won’t be next Wednesday either. Next Wednesday, the president will make a national speech to all school children, extorting them to greatness, or whatever he thinks he’ll be doing, and virtually every one of them will ignore him. So it’s good to complain about the president making this speech, but not for the reasons that are getting all the press. He won’t indoctrinate our children with Marxist propaganda; he won’t politicize the classroom; he won’t turn children into missionaries to convert their parents to godless left-wingery; he’ll just waste his time.
Screed. It refers to an opinion you disagree with, but the word itself actually means little more than “an opinion.” People use the word because it sounds bad, like scream, but, insofar as it means more than “an opinion,” screed actually refers to a lengthy and boring opinion. That’s not how people use it, though. Instead, it’s just a way to signal disapproval without explaining disapproval. Don’t use it – it’s lazy.
Opine. The same way that bloggers use screed, lawyers use opine. The other side’s lawyer is always opining. Courts are said to have opined, at least by the party appealing the ruling, and sometimes by dissenting judges. Again, it’s just a lazy word chosen for the way it sounds rather than what it means. It signals disapproval without actually disapproving. If it were used once in a great while, perhaps for when a lawyer made an argument that went particularly far afield, or when Anthony Kennedy goes off on a “at the heart of liberty” spiel, it might be appropriate. But it’s overused so much that a complete boycott is needed.
An article from a New York-based publication tells us to cook pasta in less water (though honestly, are there people out there using 1.5 gallons of water for a pound of pasta?). The merits of the idea aside, this sentence is, I think, a good demonstration of the level of ignorance in America regarding energy:
My rough figuring indicates an energy savings at the stove top of several trillion B.T.U.s. At the power plant, that would mean saving 250,000 to 500,000 barrels of oil, or $10 million to $20 million at current prices.
At the power plant? I know the interwebs is a complicated thing, probably too complicated for journalists and editors to use, but I pretty quickly turned up some statistics about the sources of our electricity. 1.1% comes from oil. So unless he’s claiming that Americans could have an overall savings in electricity of $1-2 billion a year by reducing the amount of water they use to cook pasta (a savings of over a dollar per pound cooked!), this writer and his editors are part of the ignorant masses who just presume that energy = oil, so saving energy = saving oil.
I’m reading a lot about wind power right now, and the number of people who are ignorant on this matter is truly remarkable. If people ever refer to “energy independence” as a reason to reduce electricity consumption or to invest in renewable energy, they don’t know what they’re talking about, and probably haven’t even thought much about it. Our electricity comes from coal (all-American mined), nuclear (we could produce enough American uranium for our needs, even if we choose to import when it’s cheaper), natural gas (domestic produced, with practically limitless reserves under Texas and a few other places), and hydro (obviously not imported). Strangely, if pure “energy independence” is your objective, you should oppose wind farms, since we import most wind turbines from Germany. No one ever complains about those imports, though.
But oil? Oil goes for lots of uses, but very little of it is used for electricity. There may be lots of reasons to reduce the amount of water you use to cook pasta. Personally, I don’t use nearly as much as you’re supposed to simply because I’m impatient and don’t like to wait on huge pots of water to boil. However, if you think you are reducing the amount of petroleum America imports by using less water for pasta, you are sorely misinformed. It’s a shame – predictable, but a shame nonetheless – that the Times chose to perpetuate the energy = oil myth.
Read this chart. At first glance, it looks complicated, but a moment’s study will reveal it to be very accessible. And after reading it, you’ll know more about energy than virtually every journalist in America.