The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012


June 22, 2006


Big Ten Network?

Big Ten college sports in TV deals with ABC, Fox

The Big Ten Conference on Wednesday announced new partnerships to broadcast its college sports programming on ABC and ESPN, as well as on a new cable channel it plans to launch next year with Fox.

“This is the first effort to launch a national collegiate sports network,” Big Ten Commissioner James Delany said, adding the agreements were aimed at giving the conference schools more control over their “brand.”

The Big Ten’s cable channel to be based in Chicago will launch in August 2007 with partner Fox Cable Networks, which is owned by News Corporation Inc..

DirecTV Group Inc. has signed on as the 24-hour cable channel’s first affiliate, and negotiations will get under way with cable distributors in markets across the United States with the aim of reaching subscribers to the lowest-cost cable packages, organizers said in a conference call with reporters.

This could be a very good thing for me, or a very bad thing. Obviously, being down here in SEC/ACC country tends to limit my watching of the Big Ten. So anything that helps me to watch more of my favorite teams is a good thing. Especially since Purdue is a mid-level Big Ten team, they’re not televised nationally quite as much as Michigan or Ohio State.

But there’s a big problem. I can’t have DirecTV. I’d love to have it, as I used to back in California. It is cheaper than digital cable (although more expensive than expanded basic analog). And their TiVo is perfect quality, because it’s recording DirecTV’s pre-compressed stream. But I have trees. Big trees. Trees up the slope behind my house, that will impede any sort of line-of-sight to the satellite.

If this network takes off, and Comcast picks it up as an affiliate, all will be well. I’ll get great Big Ten content that I don’t get now. If it stays with only DirecTV, though, I’m going to be spending a lot of fall Saturdays sitting in sports bars watching Purdue. Again, being down here in SEC country, that will entail trying to convince some bartender to devote at least one little TV, maybe in the corner, to a little ol’ school like Purdue.

For everyone else, this will be an interesting experiment. Much like the Big Ten was the first conference to implement instant replay in the NCAA, other major conferences will be looking at their example to determine if a conference network is viable. The Big Ten is probably the largest conference when it comes to national support, so it will make for a very good test subject.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 7:24 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: College Football, Media, News, Sports


June 21, 2006


Wear a Helmet…

…or you might end up like Ben Roethlisberger!

Big Ben

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:36 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Motorcycles/Racing, News, Snark, Sports



That’s Not Amber!

I was brewing with the neighbor over the weekend. I’ve long been a fan of New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale. Since it’s not distributed in Georgia, I decided to brew my own clone. I found this recipe, and figured it would be pretty close…

Not so much. I was trying to change the recipe to get yeast ready for my next batch, which will be much stronger and thus needs a serious amount of active yeast to get going. So I added some more malt extract and hops, to “kick it up a notch”, and decided to use a Trappist yeast suitable for Belgian-style ales, which is the batch I’m brewing this weekend.

So it was intended to be an experiment. I expected a Belgian Amber Ale, roughly in the 6% ABV range. Well, I got a Belgian ale, and preliminary calculations will put it in that alcohol range. But it sure ain’t amber! This stuff is in the realm of brown ale, definitely not what was intended. So I need to invest in ProMash, to vet some of these recipes before I proceed.

It’s still in primary fermentation, and it does seem to smell pretty good, but I’m not sure what it’s going to look like or taste like when it’s done. I’m sure it will be interesting, and I’m thinking about naming it the “Frankenbeer”. I’ll keep everyone updated as it progresses…

On the bright side, my clone of the Stone Ruination IPA is tasting pretty good. I bottled it on Sunday and got a taste. For a room-temperature, non-carbonated beer, it’s already tastes incredible. So in a week or so, it’s going to be wonderful…


The Unrepentant Individual linked with The Next Brewing Step
The Unrepentant Individual linked with Brew Update
Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:31 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer


June 20, 2006


Carnival of Liberty L

Yep… Carnival 50 is up at TuCents… Check it out.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 11:50 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Around The 'Sphere, Carnivals


June 19, 2006


Price Gouging for Beer?

Over on beeradvocate.com, I came across this thread in the forums. The question was whether cellarable beer should carry a premium price.

I was at an unnamed store nearby this weekend that usually overprices their beer anyway, and I saw some 2000 Bigfoot for $30 a 6er. I just about passed out!!! I thought that this was a nice example of price gouging, what are others opinions on this? Is this worth it? I don’t think it was properly cellared, there was significant fading on the packaging.

Bigfoot is a barleywine made by Sierra Nevada. At 9.6% alcohol, it stands up well against the aging process, and typical beers of the style actually tend to mellow with age. Much like wine, only a very small set of beers actually does age well, but this is one that counts.

So is it price-gouging when a beer of that age carries a premium price? After all, that’s probably at least double MSRP, and it’s pretty likely that (as the poster said) it wasn’t aged under proper conditions. It may not have been held at cellar temp, or in a dark area. Since heat and light are the two things which are most likely to cause the beer to go bad, it’s unclear exactly what’s being bought.

But as for price gouging, I find price gouging to be a very hard-to-define phenomenon. But apparently not everyone thinks so. After one person suggested that price gouging is only really applicable to “necessities”, another poster responded with this:

This store is probably the only place in Michigan with Breakfast Stout on the shelves. (unless a new batch just came out, in which case this statement will be true in a week or two). Them, charging double the retail price because they are the only one that has any left is a form of price gouging IMO. Then again, I do consider great beer to be a necessity.

The store in question will have that 6er of Bigfoot on their shelf until it sells. They will not lower the price. They will wait it out. They had 6ers of Bells Batch 4000 on their shelves for $30/6 for many years.

Of course, I had to respond:

I’ve always wanted someone to define price gouging… I guess you’ve done it well:

“Price gouging is when someone charges more than I think they’re ’supposed to’.”

Sounds like it might be time to start talking to their competitors, and telling them that if they stock it and sell it at a more reasonable price, you’ll buy it from them.

Or hell, find the owner of this place and tell him that if he lowers the price, it’ll leave his shelves. He’ll make more money selling you 10 6′ers at $5 profit each over the next year than he will waiting a year to sell that single 6′er at $15 profit.

Of course, that doesn’t take into account the fact that it is a rare product, and one which likely is much harder to find than the fresh brew of the same variety. There aren’t many places where you can find a six-pack of the 2000 Bigfoot Barleywine.

But perhaps that’s a signal that the price was too low? The discussion continued, talking about the situation with this store and non-vintage beers. A poster made the point that certain beers are commonly priced very high at this store, and when other stores run out, you’re left paying this store’s prices or not buying it at all:

What I’m concerned about is this becoming a trend. Store A sells 2 cases of Founders BS for $3/bottle and sells out immediatly and wont see anymore for a year when next years batch comes out. Store B sells their 2 cases for $6/bottle slowly over the course of a year. How long before Store A starts doing the same thing? And yes, I know, this is capitalism at work and I have no problem with that. But it is troubling nonetheless.

Apparently he’s mad that one store manages to price itself high enough to actually supply a beer over the course of an entire year. Of course, if Store A did raise their prices, it would benefit everyone except those lucky people who managed to hoard the beer Store A was selling at below-market prices.

Again, I had to try to explain basic economics:

Craft beer is a scarce resource. I remember a news story someone posted on here a few weeks ago about a small brewery. Every craft brewery that brews a quality product has much more demand than they can supply. Why doesn’t Stone distribute to more states (yet)? Because so many people want their product that their production lines can’t keep up.

So it’s simply supply and demand. With most craft breweries, store A can’t just call up Founders and say “I need more cases of beer” when they sell out, because Founders has a bunch of other customers and can only allocate a certain amount to each store. With any scarce resource, the best way to allocate the good is through the price structure. If store A is selling it for $3/bottle, people are coming in to buy a case at a time. If store B is selling it for $6/bottle, people are coming in to buy maybe half or 1/4 of a case, meaning that many more people can access the product (although not as much of it).

Simply put, MSRP is sometimes too low, because demand is so high that people will buy and hoard a good, taking it off the market for others (see the market for concert tickets, where they are usually sold way too cheaply to scalpers, who then sell them for market price). If MSRP is too low, that means that person X buys a case of Founders and person Y doesn’t get a drop of it. That’s great, if you’re person X! If you’re not (and it seems that the people complaining are not), then you’re SOL.

I only wish that some people would realize how easily they’re making my arguments. Yes, someone is upset that a bottle of beer is going for a price higher at one store than another. Obviously, that must mean that the one store is gouging! Of course, when one store runs out in a month, and the higher-priced store has the beer available for the next 4 months, they’re still upset. If prices are too low, you have shortages. If they’re too high, you have overstocked shelves. Finding the balance is key.

Store A realizes that they want to get this beer in, get it moved, and make space for the next beer. If they can’t always supply their customers with a specific variety of beer, that’s okay, because their customers will be happy to come back and buy it at good prices when it’s again available. Then, when they run out of that variety, they’ll keep the shelves stocked with a different beer, trying to move product first. Store B, on the other hand, is trying to be the go-to place. You may have to spend more money, but if you’re looking for a seasonal beer, you know it’s likely they’ll have it available. They are providing a service, keeping their shelves stocked with slow-moving beer, and that shelf space costs money. If you expect them to have a beer that’s distributed once a year in its off-season, you’re going to have to pay a little more.

I realize that to most of my readers, this is elementary. It doesn’t take much for you guys to understand basic economics, but it’s always interesting to see this sort of debate played out with people that aren’t political junkies. The average consumer thinks he’s getting ripped off, when in reality, the price structure is exactly what’s allowing him to buy the beer at all. Miller Lite is a commodity beer. Craft beer is not. It is made in relatively small batches, and these breweries aren’t sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They’re brewing as fast as they can, because they don’t have a problem selling every drop they make.

If the price of craft beer doesn’t accurately reflect the situation, you’re going to have beer that leaves stores faster than it can be restocked. If the price of craft beer does reflect the supply and demand balance, you’re going to have people complaining about how “expensive” it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s beer, gasoline, or apartments, that’s the situation. You can try to “control” the price, but then all you do is make sure that those lucky enough to get the good are happy with the price, and nobody else gets any of it. Of course, with beer I can brew my own, so I’m a little less sensitive than with oil :-D

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:43 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Economics



Championship Blown Open

Heading into the opening corner of the Catalunya Grand Prix, Sete Gibernau collided with teammate Loris Capirossi. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem. But Gibernau’s front brake lever got caught up in the process, and below is the result.

About 5 or 6 riders crashed out. Including Loris Capirossi (tied in points with Nicky Hayden for the championship lead), Marco Melandri (3rd in Championship) and Dani Pedrosa (4th in Championship). The race was stopped and had to be re-started. Capirossi and Melandri went to the hospital, and information is still sketchy on when they’ll return. Pedrosa did continue, but was on his back-up bike, and ended up crashing out of the race later. Rossi won, with Hayden taking second place.

So now the championship has been blown open. Hayden— without having won a single race— now has a 20-point lead on Capirossi, although it’s unclear whether Capirossi will return quickly from his injuries to be a factor. Rossi has moved up into 3rd place, 29 points behind Hayden, and put in a dominant performance. He’s starting to look like the Rossi of old times again.

Mathematically, Rossi would overtake Hayden in points if he finishes first to Hayden’s second in 5 races. With 10 races remaining in the year, Rossi certainly can do it. But the championship rests in Nicky Hayden’s hands. If he starts winning, he’s got a large enough point lead to withstand a few 2nd or 3rd place finishes. But if he can’t find his way to the top of the podium (his only career MotoGP win being Laguna Seca last year), he’ll be caught by The Doctor.

You want to know how excited I am for the Laguna Seca race on July 23 this year? You want to start feeling the goosebumps?

Well, check out this trailer, for a documentary that’s going to be released about last year’s race at Laguna. The Doctor, The Tornado, and The Kentucky Kid. (Hopefully they’ll change the title).

(Yes, they did say “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Maximum Speed”…)

UPDATE: I replaced the photo of the Catalunya crash with video I was able to find…


The Unrepentant Individual linked with MotoGP Update
Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:48 am || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Motorcycles/Racing, YouTube


June 16, 2006


World Cup Mania!!!

Soccer is for skinny guys who can’t throw. ‘Nuff said.

UPDATE 6/18 – 8 AM:

Well, this post didn’t generate as much controversy as I thought. So let me up the ante. I visited Mike’s blog and posted this comment in response to his soccer post. In it, I argue that soccer is anti-libertarian:

Seriously, though, I realize it’s a very in-depth game, and for those people who understand it, it can be quite exciting. I don’t particularly understand how a game is over in 90 minutes plus “whenever the ref feels like it”. And the red card/yellow card thing just seems arbitrary.

Let me tie it into libertarianism a little bit… In American sports we have defined rules, where you know what happens when you break them. In hockey, you’re guilty of high sticking? Get in the box for 2 minutes (or it might be 5, I’m not a huge hockey guy). In football, you’re guilty of clipping? 15 yards from the previous spot, loss of down. Soccer, though, puts all this stuff in the ref’s hands. It’s the rule of man, not the rule of law. Definitely more “European” of a sport…

Discuss.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:47 pm || Permalink || Comments (5) || Trackback URL || Categories: Libertarianism, Snark, Sports



Sales vs. Finance

Sales: “You want answers?”

Finance: “I think we are entitled to them!”

Sales: “You want answers?!”

Finance: “I want the truth!”

Sales: “You can’t handle the truth!!!”

Sales (continuing): “Son, we live in a world that requires revenue. And that revenue must be brought in by people with elite skills. Who’s going to find it? You? You, Mr. Operations? We have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You scoff at the sales division and curse our lucrative incentives. You have that luxury. You also have the luxury of not knowing what we know: that while the cost of business results are excessive, it drives in revenue. And my very existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, drives REVENUE!

You don’t want to know the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about in board meetings … you want me on that call. You NEED me on that call!

We use words like strategic synergies, cost management, network discounts and transparency. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent negotiating opportunities. You use them as a punch line!

I have neither the time nor inclination to explain myself to people who rise and sleep under the very blanket of revenue I provide and then question the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said “thank you” and went on your way.

Otherwise I suggest you pick up a phone and make some sales calls.

Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!”

Finance: “Did you expense the lap dances?”

Sales: “I did the job I was hired to do.”

Finance: “Did you expense the lap dances?”

Sales: “You’re goddamn right I did!”


Searchlight Crusade linked with Links and Minifeatures 06 21 Wednesday (Summertime!)
Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 12:17 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Pop Culture


June 15, 2006


The Year of MotoGP

Rossi leads NickyI’ve posted previously about why I love motorcycle racing. 200 mph bikes, making upwards of 200 or 250 hp out of a 1000 cc engine, racing within inches of each other… There’s nothing like it. The narrow bikes make for a lot of passing; the ability to see the rider moving around on the bike and watching bikes lean over so far you wonder how those tiny tires can stay glued to the road, and it gives you a ton of respect for the men who can control the power those bikes wield.

But in the world of racing, parity can be a problem. Often, one team and one rider tends to dominate. The motorcycles ridden are typically on a two-year cycle of minor revisions to design, and a four-year cycle for complete redesigns. While there is a lot of parity, with the various manufacturers each shooting for an edge within the rules, one bike tends to come out on top. This year in AMA Superbike, of the first 9 races of the year, the wins have all come on Suzuki factory machines, split between Mat Mladin and Ben Spies. In World Superbike, 7 of 10 victories went to Troy Bayliss on a factory Ducati machine. With a few early-season troubles, he’s on a 7-win streak, so everything is looking rosy for the rest of the season.

HaydenBut not so in MotoGP. The year has been up and down for everyone. Of the first six races, four different riders have won, on three different machines (3 Honda, 2 Yamaha, 1 Ducati). A perennial also-ran in MotoGP, the Suzuki bike, hasn’t won a single race, but has sat in pole position several times. The level of parity is amazing.

But some strange factors have made it even more fun to watch. The man who is considered by some to be the best motorcycle racer ever, Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), has won two of those races but sits 5th in Championship standings. He has taken home the MotoGP championship every single one of the last five years, but the first corner of the first race of this season, he was taken out in a crash. He’s had mechanical troubles and other problems in several other races. Luck hasn’t been on his side. The co-leader of the championship standings, Nicky Hayden (Honda), hasn’t won a race all year, but has consistently been among the top riders every week. However, as championship co-leader, and the official top-man on his team, he’s battling every week with Dani Pedrosa (Honda), two time champion of the 250 cc class (the next step down), a rookie in MotoGP, yet already with one race win under his belt. Tied in points with Hayden is Loris Capirossi (Ducati), who is technically winning the championship due to his one race win, and third in points is Marco Melandri (Honda), with two race wins under his belt.

CapirossiThis is a year that holds excitement every week. Can Rossi, one of the best (if not THE best) racers of all time, battle back from a 34-point deficit to retain his title? Can Nicky Hayden win a race or two, and be the first American to win the championship since Kenny Roberts in 2000, and Kevin Schwantz, the most recent before him in 1993? Will we see Dani Pedrosa, a rookie who has been compared in talent to Valentino Rossi, take over his throne? Any one of the top 5 still has a great chance at winning the whole thing, and without a clear-cut favorite, who knows what might happen?

Either way, if you’re halfway interested in starting to follow MotoGP, now is the time to do it. Broadcast schedules can be found at SpeedTV.com, and there are races scheduled 5 of the next 6 weekends. They’re usually on Sundays, but they typically get replayed on Tuesday. Besides, this is what TiVo is for, right?

And if you’re in California, on July 23rd, MotoGP will be coming to race at Laguna Seca near Monterrey. The place will become a madhouse, I’m sure, but if you want to see what these machines are capable of– up close and personal– book your tickets now. Don’t forget to bring your earplugs!

PedrosaFor racing fans, it doesn’t get much better than this. There’s not a type of racing I’d rather watch than the two-wheeled variety. With it being a completely competitive year for all of the top riders, every week is important. One crash, one slip, or finishing 3rd place instead of 2nd in a single race could be the difference in being the 2006 MotoGP Champion, remembered forever in the history books, and being the runner-up, your results forgotten by 2008.

Check it out. If you’re not wowed, you know where to send the complaints!

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:35 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Motorcycles/Racing



The Simpsons Intro – Live Action

Interesting…

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:25 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Pop Culture, YouTube



Bush to Take Candy From Baby

After all, he’s already insulted a disabled reporter

President Bush, who often teases members of the White House press corps, apologized Wednesday after he poked fun at a reporter for wearing sunglasses without realizing they were needed for vision loss.

The exchange occurred at a news conference in the Rose Garden.

Bush called on Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Wallsten and asked if he was going to ask his question with his “shades” on.

“For the viewers, there’s no sun,” Bush said to the television cameras.

But even though the sun was behind the clouds, Wallsten still needs the sunglasses because he has Stargardt’s disease, a form of macular degeneration that causes progressive vision loss. The condition causes Wallsten to be sensitive to glare and even on a cloudy day, can cause pain and increase the loss of sight.

Way to go, George? What’s next, pouring sugar in John Kerry’s gas tank?

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 1:49 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Media, News, Politics, Snark


June 14, 2006


Brinkmanship Ebbs

China Easing Its Stance On Taiwan

Gradually and without fanfare, China has substantially softened its stand on Taiwan, according to senior officials and diplomats. President Hu Jintao, they said, has begun to play down China’s long-standing vow to recover the self-ruled island by force if necessary and shifted the focus to preventing any move toward formal independence.

The adjustment, which has become clearer in recent months, has brought China’s policy on the volatile Taiwan issue closer to that of the United States. Washington has long maintained that the island’s half-century-old status quo — independent in fact but not in law — should not be changed until Beijing and Taipei can work out a mutually acceptable peaceful solution.

“Before, we never said ’status quo,’ ” said a Chinese academic who advises Hu’s government on Taiwan. “Now we say it all the time.”

As I’ve mentioned before, this is a situation that I try to keep a relatively close eye on. Considering the entire industry I work for is dominated by companies based in Taiwan & China (to the extent that they can’t produce in Mexico, due to the expensive labor), I have a large financial stake in whether or not a war starts. Since a large number of my coworkers here are native-born Taiwanese, with family and friends back in Taiwan, I’ve got an emotional stake in the matter as well.

Personally, I see this is a troubled situation, but not an inevitable war. China is slowly making strides towards liberalization, and liberty begets liberty. China in 25 or 50 years has the potential to be a very powerful nation, and if their current trends continue, a free one. Should that situation come about, the original cause for the split between China & Taiwan (the Chinese leaders fleeing to Taiwan to escape the consequences of the Revolution in the late 1940s) will dissipate. Much like the reunification of Germany, there are extremely close cultural ties between Taiwan and China, and they could come back together.

Right now, the trends show greater cooperation. Taiwanese investment in China is high, as they use the mainland as a giant factory for production. Taiwan’s economy is outgrowing its labor force, and the narrow Formosa Strait gives a short route to the enormous human and real estate capital available in China. China receives benefits from this cooperation as well, as they don’t have enough capital inside their country to expand their economy, and must rely on outside investment.

If all goes well, they’re on their way to a beautiful friendship. But there is one X factor involved. If one side does something stupid, there will be war. If the Taiwanese independence movement gains too much control, and Taiwan decides to declare formal independence, China will be forced into action to bring them back in the fold. That forces the US into a corner, where they must decide between warring with China or abandoning Taiwan. Taiwan can’t win that war without us, and I’m not sure America has the will to fight it for them. Of course, if China acts belligerently, pushing reunification before its time, and trying too much to meddle in Taiwan’s internal affairs, Taiwan will be forced into declaring independence.

It’s a game of brinkmanship, and one with very high stakes. But nobody wants war. From what I understand, not many Taiwanese really want formal independence. They feel the cultural ties to the mainland, but understand that China’s political regime is one they do not want to live under. At the moment, both sides are served best by the status quo, because Taiwan has de facto independence, if not de jure. The politicians on both sides seem to realize that, and it looks like they’re stepping back from the abyss, at least for now. And that I applaud.


TuCents linked with Carnival of Liberty 50
Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:17 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: News, Politics



Late To The Party…

I heard two stories on the radio on my way to work today, and felt I needed to comment. But it appears Doug has beat me to it, with posts at 6:13 AM and 7:26 AM. That jerk…

First, see his coverage of the Katrina-relief fraud. Of course, I expect some fraud when you’re doling out money, as money attracts thieves. But 1.4 BILLION dollars?!?!

But that’s okay, I’m sure all these folks will be convicted and prosecuted for fraud. [pinches self] Oh, wait… Nevermind.

In other news of people who deserve to be convicted and prosecuted for fraud, how about our esteemed Congress? They’ve given us boatloads of promises of “fiscal responsibility”, and I haven’t seen much of that. And now, they’ve decided they’re doing such a good job, they deserve a raise! I guess the previous salary of $165,000 a year wasn’t quite high enough to cover their “worth”. I sure wish I could set my own salary like they do…

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:04 am || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: News, Politics, Snark


June 13, 2006


Beer Jokes

All taken from this thread at beeradvocate.com:

An oil tycoon from Texas is vacationing in Ireland. He stops by the local and puts a wager up to the crowd. He tells them he’ll pay $10,000 to anyone who can drink 10 pints in two minutes. One man is so offended he leaves the bar.

After a few minutes the Texan asks if no one is man enough to take the take and that he’d heard Irish men could drink. A minute later, the man who left walks back into the bar gets the barkeep to line up ten pints and takes them in about a minute and a half. The Texan owes up to the bet and congratulates the Irishman. He says to the man “That was quite impressive but I have to ask; Where’d you go when you left?”

The Irishman replied “I went to the pub down the road. I had to make sure I could do it first.”

—————————————————————

A man walks into a bar and orders a draft and sits down. After a couple sips a monkey runs up and quickly dips his balls in the man’s beer. The man is furious and can’t believe what just happened. “Bartender!”, the man said “That monkey just dipped his balls in my beer, I can’t drink this, give me another one.”

The bartender serves him another, but after a moment the monkey appears again and before the man could stop him he dips his balls in the beer again. “That damn monkey just did it again, I can’t drink this!”, he said. “Bartender, give me another beer please.”

The bartender poured the man a third pint and this time the man was determined not to let that monkey dip his balls in it. He watched the beer closely, and the monkey was not in sight, so he started chatting with a woman across the bar. As soon as he stopped paying attention the monkey snuck up like lightning, and quickly dipped his balls in the beer again.

“I’ve had enough of this!”, the man yelled, “All my beers have been ruined.” “Is that your monkey bartender?” “No”, he replied, “That monkey belongs to the piano player over there”

The man gets up from his barstool and approaches the piano player and taps him on the back. “Excuse me sir, do you know your monkey is dipping his balls in my beer?” “No I sure don’t.” replied the piano player. “But, if you hum a few notes I can try to fake it.”

—————————————————————

Read more of this entry… »

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 4:03 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Humor



AHA! Moment…

I hear a lot of people thinking the economy is in for a crash, and for a long time, I’ve been very skeptical. But I had an AHA! moment last night…

In the “Roaring Twenties”, people increasingly went into debt (against their homes, etc) to finance non-home purchases. We’ve all been taught that this debt was one of the major factors in causing the Great Depression. Of course, this was only one cause, and many of our other political moves only exacerbated the problem.

Well, what do we have now? Rising household debt. A negative savings rate. People increasing fueling their spending habits by touching rising housing equity, leaving them in deep trouble if there is a housing meltdown. We, financially, are balancing on the head of a pin. Thankfully, although the housing market appears to be stagnating, stories here and here predict it won’t be a catastrophic crash.

I think our current economy is a lot less sensitive to ripples than the economy of the 1930’s, especially with increased globalization. However, if we hit a recession, which is entirely likely if the housing market has a meltdown, rippling out into the financial services sector, construction, etc, and it becomes our response, not the underlying factors, which can turn a recession into a depression. Note that it’s the exact same model as the 2000 recession. Overspeculation in the internet boom melted down, which rippled out to chip-makers, networking companies, and eventually out into the wider engineering world, followed by some of the support industries for that whole sector of the economy.

After the 2000 recession (a minor one, IMHO), dropping interest rates and a tax cut helped to turn it around. We didn’t have a return to protectionist trade practices, and except for Sarbanes-Oxley, the government mostly stayed out of heavy interventionism in the economy. But the 2000 recession hit the technology sector, and affected business and jobs more than it affected people’s homes. If we see a housing meltdown, followed by widespread foreclosures, political pressure to “save us” will become deafening. I think the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Unemployment is low. Growth is good. But all that can go south if the politicians stick their grubby hands into the mix. And as we’ve seen with the “outlandish” rise in oil prices, politicians are more than willing to do just that.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:39 am || Permalink || Comments (5) || Trackback URL || Categories: Economics, News, Politics

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