10 things that Men and Women Don't Want to Hear


Gore friend's cruise ship on tour of impact of global warming strikes iceberg.


Mascot Violence in College Sports: A Growing Problem?

The Chronicle of Higher Education asks where Mascot Violence is increasing in college sports. The Oregon Duck here has a vicious attack on a Houston Cougar.


Fox News' Greg Gutfeld is pretty funny

Greg Gutfeld is really quite funny. For one example of his zaniness see this here.



Two funny comics

This comic strip was too sensitive politically for the Washington Post. Apparently the previous week's strip making fun of the deceased Jerry Falwell was not a problem for the newspapers, but this one dealt with Islam.


Minnesota Legislative Reference Library Provides Some Balance on Economic Debate


Bill Murray is also a funny guy in real life


For something a little different

Fox News has all the info on the Hog and Husband Calling Contest at the Illinois State Fair.



I hope that this doesn't give American Politicians ideas


Rosie O'Donnell Posts Pictures of 4-year-Old Daughter Dressed as Guerrilla Fighter Complete with Bullets and Guns

Unemployed gabfest queen Rosie O'Donnell, who last went to war with Elizabeth Hasselbeck only to retreat from her position on "The View," appears to have drafted a reinforcement in the form of waify 4-year-old Vivian Rose, better known as "Vivi."

Rosie posted a video and photo of her little soldier on her Web site Rosie.com on Tuesday, which drew immediate reaction -- some not so kind -- about the media transformation of her daughter from little princess to bullet-toting guerrilla fighter.

"That is a horrible picture of VIvi!!" one viewer wrote to her blog. Other comments included:


"wow Ro that photo of Vivi with the bullets made me cry-it’s scary to think that there are precious little ones really walking around like that in our world “for real”. Come on people! Help our babies"

"what’s with the new pic? it’s rather disturbing!" . . . .

I assume that the obvious answer is that this is just a PR ploy.

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How to get your jail sentence reduced by almost 90 percent: Cry

This is almost too funny. Paris Hilton was supposed to serve something like 23 days in jail (the sentence was 45 days, but with good behavior she was expected to get out in 23 days). Hilton still must serve home detention and it will be for the full 45 days.

On the heels of reports that Hilton had been crying in jail and receiving visits from her psychiatrist, reporters at the press conference seemed to think that the heiress had manipulated her jailers.

Whitmore didn't fully deny this accusation. When one reporter asked him, “What’s your comment to people who say she played you like a puppet on a string — she came in here, didn’t like it, it was hard and she got out?” he replied, “Once again, I just think that’s a different way of saying it, only the language is a little more — liquid. I would simply say that I understand that."

The sheriff's spokesman would not elaborate on Hilton's medical issues, nor would he say if they were physical or psychological. He added that the decision to send Hilton home was based on dozens of consultations and discussions over a period of three or four days.

I could write a defense of this for Ms. Hilton given that a day in jail for her must represent much more of a penalty in terms of forgone income than a day for most others, but I will not press the point in this case.

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At least this will keep the police busy



Christopher Buckley's Great Talk at the Annual CEI dinner tonight

Some of the funny things said tonight:

1) There are two political parties: the stupid party and the evil party. I am a member of the stupid party. Every once in a while we get bipartisan legislation where we are able to obtain legislation that is simultaneously stupid and evil.

2) Apparently Buckley a former speach writer for George H.W. Bush complained about how speach writers are always treated as the lowest group of people in any administration. A "true" story that Buckley claimed had occurred during LBJ's administration:

LBJ had a speach writer who kept on trying to return to Harvard, but LBJ kept on insisting that he stay on. Apparently, multiple times he had turned in his resignation only to have it not be accepted. Finally, in desparation he tried again, and LBJ insisted on the speach writer write one more speach because LBJ had a big speach coming up. In front of a giant crowd (I believe in Texas), LBJ was reading from speach:

Can we stop the war? I am going to tell you how we are going to do it!
Can we end poverty? I am going to tell you how we are going to do it!
Can we give everyone in America equal civil rights? I am going to tell you how we are going to do it!
The crowd was going wild. LBJ turned the page:

The page read simply: "You are on your own now."

3) Buckley apparently went to an all boys catholic boarding school. Wayward boys were apparently punished with some type of corporal punishment. But what Buckley says scared him the most was the fact that he never got any real "personal" attention from the Monks. This lack of attention has created some really deep-seated fears. He now looks back and worries that the problem might have been that he simply wasn't attractive enough.

4) As one who grew up in the 1960s, Chris remembered a time when people were actually thrilled to find white powder in an envelop.

If there are any errors here, they are completely mine. Buckley was very funny and I may be missing a little on the delivery.



Ask before you eat

One warning that I should give Americans who eat sushi in Japan and that is apparently one of the selections is raw horse. I kid you not. I had to ask about five times before I actually believed the answer that I was getting. I love sushi, but this is going too far.

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Other thoughts on Japan

1) It has been 19 years since I last visited Japan, and there are a number of things that have changed.
a) There are a lot fewer English advertising signs now, but the ones that you see generally seem to make more sense. When I was here before there were signs such as "I feel Coke" or "I touch Lark (cigarettes)." There are still a few things such as a drink called "body love," but this is more silly than anything else. Most English signs are something like "Great Selection" or "Hair Make," something I saw at many beauty salons. I like the packages in the grocery stores that have an English label reading "tastes great," but the rest of the package is in Japanese and I couldn't figure out what it was inside the bag, though I was tempted to buy it just to find out what tasted so "great."
b) When I was here before it seemed most people smoked. I thought that I needed an air tank with me to go on the trains, and the smoke was unbelievably thick. Now I have seen one person smoking. Before the sidewalks were filled with automatic dispensors for cigarettes, but I have only come across a couple of set ups this time.
c) The population seems visibly much older. I kind of expected this because of everything that I know about the birth rate here, but the ratio of older people on the trains is quite high.

2) Japan has privatized its university system, though it has left many regulations in place (such as restrictions on tuitions). The government has apparently stopped its subsidies and the universities have to make up the difference with getting donations. My host at the University of Tokyo is essentially doing consulting for major companies and turning over the consulting fee as a donation to the university. You can really tell how much he cares about the university, but it seems like are really difficult task to assume that there are enough faculty over enough years who are willing to make that type of sacrifice.

3) One hot topic among academics here is the drop in fertility. I suggested some changes in divorce laws and the property division rules that women would get on divorce. One amazing fact to me is that up until recently women did not get any of the man's retirement fund when there was a divorce. The new rule is that the fund is divided 50-50, but I explained that to the extent the man is the one who invested in market activities and the woman invested in the home, she was still being shortchanged for her investment.

4) Few apartments seem to have dishwashers and no one seems to have disposals. Dryers also seem to be relatively rare, with people hanging their clothes out to dry on their balconies. The cost to women doing these chores must be tremendous and from the comments that I have heard from people, women are the ones who are expected to do these tasks. Someone that I discussed this general issue with noted that it isn't surprising that women don't want to have many kids.

It didn't seem like a joke (I could be wrong), but one professor said he had gotten a dishwashing machine because his wife was "lazy."

5) Japanese book stores are suprisingly colorless. Their books have white covers with writing, but none of the pictures and colors found on books sold in the US. The books are also basically stuffed into every available space. The books aren't displayed nicely where you see the covers as in the US, but you only see the binding.

6) Post cards are very difficult to find. As someone who tries to send them to my friends when I go to interesting places, this has been a time consuming task with little success. strange.

7) Sake doesn't seem to produce the hangover that other alcoholic drinks do. I guess that I knew some of the differences with Sake before, but not as many as I do now. There are two types of Sake, those that are meant to be served cold and those that are meant to be served warm. The cold Sake is the high quality one, but there are many different varieties of that. The very best seem to taste very smooth -- they almost have no taste. The hot Sakes that I tried remind me of Kentucky Bourbon.

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Japanese Sake

I don't think that I have ever been much of a fan of Sake before, but I think that was because in the US I don't think that I have ever had very good Sake before. All I can say is that good Japanese Sake is amazingly smooth. A substantial amount of Sake with an absolutely awesome sushi dinner, followed by a walk through a giant (truly giant) Budist temple, was a great way to spend the evening. All I can say is that this Sake packs quite a punch. These Japanese academics have life pretty good.

A talk at Hitotsubashi University earlier today, an interesting economics and public policy faculty with lots of good question.

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Random Impressions about Japan

1) A very common way of people committing suicides is for people to throw themselves in front of trains. I can only imagine the social costs of this form of suicide in that the trains appear to be stopped for an hour or so. It would be interesting to compare the costs of say Americans committing suicide with the cost of Japanese. It is not clear why Japanese want to commit suicide in such a was as to inconvienence so many other people, with trains delayed by an hour during the busy rush hour.

2) The only English language programming that I can pick up on the TV is when they are showing American baseball. Right now I am watching Detroit play Boston. Possibly it is being covered because a former Japanese star seems to be pitching for Boston.

3) Japanese food is actually pretty cheap. If I had as much sushi in the US as I have had during the last couple of days, I would have had to take out an extra loan on my house. Instead here I have been quite stuffed and gotten to eat the food for around 1300 yen. But the food is great.

4) Japanese yell a lot when they do sports. Whether it is soccer or what appeared to be Lacrosse with huge goals, there was a lot of yelling going on.

5) I watched some Summo wrestling on TV and all I can say is that it goes by extremely fast. A match appears to take as little as 5 seconds sometimes and I don't think I saw anything longer than 15 seconds. They do it fast and then two other contestants come on. It makes it somewhat difficult to get very involved in watching a match.

Further point

6) Japan's crows are huge and extremely large and agressive. I have been told that they are originally from Africa, but wherever these crows are from, they certainly make an impression.

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Japanese Baseball

Stopped by and saw a Tokyo Giants baseball game tonight. All I can say is that Japanese baseball games are very loud and their fans are fanatical, indeed I have never seen such fans at a sports game in the US. These guys were looked really intense. Banging these plastic sticks together while they are standing and yelling as load as they could.



Dennis Miller is awesome: Making a serious point about gun free zones

I thought Dennis Miller was great on O'Reilly (I usually do), but this joke was just too amusing. Here is a close to exact quote:

"The fact is that by doing this stuff we set us up for something like Fort Dix where six local kids think that we are so asleep at the switch. This isn't Va Tech with a gun free zone. You are talking about an army base. and they think we are so asleep at the switch they can get an AK-47 and do us in."

I also liked his joke about whining terrorists.

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An amusing note in the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case

In case you haven't been following the case, the issue is freedom of speach in a school and it does raise some difficult issues. On the (personally) amusing side, Ninth Circuit court Judge Andrew Kleinfeld wrote (p. 2473):
"All sorts of missions are undermined by legitimate and protected speech -- a school's anti-gun mission would be undermined by a student passing around copies of John R. Lott's book,'More Guns, Less Crime;' a school's anti-alcohol mission would be undermined by a student e-mailing links to a medical study showing less heart disease among moderate drinkers than teetotalers; and a school’s traffic safety mission would be undermined by a student circulating copies of articles showing that traffic cameras and automatic ticketing systems for cars that run red lights increase accidents.

UPDATE: A law professor friend of mine wrote me that: "cool! guess too late, but you should have filed an amicus brief--wrond decision could set precedent for banning your book (especially in schools w/ gun-free zones)!"



Lunar Eclipse Tonight


No bounce from the Academy Awards


Do they really want to convict this good Samaritan?

I understand how the person whose place was broken into must feel, but would convicting this guy really create the right incentives for neighbors in future cases? Possibly the solution is that the person with the DVD shouldn't have had the volume turned up so high? May be the neighbor can follow the lead in this story I posted on earlier.

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. — A sword-wielding Wisconsin man broke into his neighbor's apartment thinking he was chivalrous after hearing the cries of a woman he thought was in peril — but instead, she was in porn.

James Van Iveren was in his Oconomowoc apartment listening to music when he heard loud cries from a woman he thought was pleading for help, reported the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The 39-year-old grabbed a cavalry sword, a family heirloom, and rushed upstairs to forcibly open the quarters of an upstairs tenant he barely knew.

"It was a woman screaming," Van Iveren said of the Feb. 12 incident. "She was screaming for help."

Bret Stieghorst told police that he was watching a pornographic DVD when Van Iveren kicked open his door, damaging the frame and lock in the process, with a 39-inch blade in hand.

Stieghorst said Van Iveren demanded "Where is she?" while thrusting the sword at him.

The neighbor told police Van Iveren became increasingly aggressive as he repeated the question, insisting that he had heard a woman being raped. The complaint said that, with the sword pointed at him, the neighbor led Van Iveren throughout the apartment, opening closet doors to prove he was alone. . . .

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Nice story about the pistol coach at Ohio State University

A story about the pistol coach at Ohio State University:
"You ought to try to go talk a parent into paying $30,000 to send a kid here to shoot a pistol," he said, eyes crinkled in amusement. . . .

Thanks to Darren Cooper for sending this to me.



A weird ending to a crime

CAMBRIDGE, Minn. (AP) -- A man pleading guilty to stealing gas and a car radiator offered words of support for the retired farmer who was charged with threatening him with a shotgun.

Kenneth Englund, 74, confronted Christian Harris Smith and a woman on Oct. 15 at a vacant farm near Englund's home as Smith was taking gasoline from a vehicle, police said. Englund chased the pair while calling the sheriff's office on a cell phone.

After the vehicles stopped and a deputy sheriff arrived, Englund's shotgun was found to be unloaded, according to the criminal complaint. A felony assault charge against Englund on Monday was reduced to two misdemeanors: pointing a gun at another person and disorderly conduct. A judge sentenced Smith, 28, to 90 days in jail last week. As Smith entered his guilty plea, he defended Englund's actions.

"I don't think he should be held responsible for, you know, anything involving any of these issues," Smith said. "I committed a crime and, you know, he did what he probably thought was right to ... resolve the situation."

Smith said that in addition to paying restitution to the owner of the property, he would like to do "whatever I can" to help Englund, according to a court transcript. . . .

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Weird Stories


In honor of Groundhog Day

For those who don't know, today is Groundhog day. Here are some amusing quotes from "Groundhog Day," the movie.

Rita: I like to see a man of advancing years throwing caution to the wind. It's inspiring in a way.
Phil: My years are not advancing as fast as you might think.

Mrs. Lancaster: Did you sleep well, Mr. Connors?
Phil: I slept alone, Mrs. Lancaster.

Rita: I think it's a nice story. He comes out, and he looks around. He wrinkles up his little nose. He sees his shadow or he doesn't see it. It's nice. People like it.
Phil: You are new, aren't you? People like blood sausage too.

Phil: I'm a god. I'm not *the* God... I don't think. [I liked the back and forth with Rita on this one, especially her reference to her Catholic education.]

Phil: So, did you sleep OK without me? You tossed and turned, didn't you?
Rita: You're incredible.
Phil: Who told you?

Phil: I promise I won't touch you ... much.

Jonah Goldberg's take on the movie.



Why are more women living without husbands?

Fox News has a nice discussion of this. With fewer women having kids, that is part of the explanation. I would like to really see how much of this is due to elderly women greatly out living their spouses. My guess is that there are a lot of 60, 70, 80, 90 year old women who are either unwilling, uninterested, or whatever in terms of getting remarried. Women so greatly out number men in those higher age categories, I would guess that it really makes a difference and that group has been growing a lot. Women are marrying later and my guess is that part of that is the result of no fault divorce laws.

Some of what is read into this finding is a joke. How do they know or prove things such as this?
At the other end, women are living longer as widows and, after a divorce, are more likely than men to delay remarriage, sometimes delighting in their newfound freedom. . . .


Only about 30 percent of black women are living with a spouse, according to the Census Bureau, compared to about 49 percent of Hispanic women, 55 percent of non-Hispanic white women and more than 60 percent of Asian women. . . .

UPDATE: I finally got a hold of the New York Times article upon which this Fox News story was based. Apparently, women were defined as women from age 15 and higher. My guess is that few women from 15 to 20 are married. Presumably 100 years ago that was much higher. I am not sure that tells us anything about women not wanting or needing men. If you limited the survey to women 19 and older, clearly less than 50 percent of women would be without a man. When you combine that with the fact that women are living much longer than men, I am again not sure what to make of these basic numbers. A more meaningful statistic would be something such as women 19 or 20 to 75.



An alternative to recycling cars and skeet shooting

This is pretty funny: A replacement for skeet shooting. I think that this is a new sport that could really catch on.



Reviews of "24"

Here are a couple of reviews. As unbelieveable as it seems, apparently this season promises to be the best one yet. I confess that I regularly tried to watch this show. It is usually great.

-- Review by Stephen King.

--Review by DOROTHY RABINOWITZ in the WSJ.

Review by the Toronto Star for an idea of what some Canadians think of the show..

Review by the New York Times.