March 2nd, 2006

Gee Tennessee

Freakanomics: Explanatory Note and Introduction

An explanatory note of my own: I do not expect to do this for every chapter. I just want to get all my thoughts down before I lose my outrage.

Explanatory Note: Once upon a time there were two humble, self-effacing lads. They found it hard to be humble, because they were just damn talented. Still they persevered, until other people noticed how freaking talented they were. Then they, uh, I mean we, wrote a book. And here it is. Aren't you damned lucky to be reading it?

Introduction: Unifying themes and why they suck, and why our minds are too great to be constrained, also, it would be boring.
Abortion and the crime rate:
Theory: Crime dropped in the 90s because abortion became legal in the 70s so all the potential hoodlums weren't be born.
Proof: Studies have shown that disadvantaged children are more likely to become criminals.
Questions: Were there actually fewer disadvantaged children being born? There's no supporting evidence to show that criminal potential pool was actually decreased during this time. I'm not saying such things don't exist, I'm just saying, that's not a given proof and without it, the whole argument is specious. What's needed to prove out this argument is demographics and statistics showing the decline in birthrate among the target audience and the statistics of abortions broken by economic status. Or would that be too boring too?

Real-Estate sales:
Theory: real-estate agents do not try to get the best prices for their clients.
Proof: They sell their own homes for an average 3% higher margin. The incentives for the agent to sell a client's house for that same 3% margin isn't worth the effort (and additional expense in advertising) of attempting to get better offers so they encourage clients to sell to the first acceptable prospective buyer, rather than waiting for the best price.
Questions: The agent is not personally responsible for paying for the advertising, so that "expense" cited drops out of the equation. They are responsible for creating and placing the ad, therefore effort is relevant, and I'll allow that element.
Suggestions: A larger factor than the small increase in personal sales commission is the pressure from an agency to turn over the house quickly, make the money and move on. If personal incentives were all that was needed to secure larger sales for the agency, the the agencies themselves would offer additional incentives. Even doubling the amount of personal sales commission is more then offset by the additional revenue that generated it. Or do we assume that the agencies are run by financial idiots, but the agents themselves are geniuses who can calculate effort/reward ratios?

Theory: There's a not lot of money spent on campaigns. (This is actually the secondary theory, but since I agree with the primary theory - that win potential generates money, not the other way around, I'm leaving that one alone, although mentioning it, just so no one thinks I'm completely discounting his theories wholesale.)
Proof: Americans spend the same amount on chewing gum per year.
Questions: WTF? Chewing gum benefits millions of Americans. Does the political process? I know you can argue that question either way, but I'm going to stand by my argument that a consumable product "Americans buy in a year" is a more tangible benefit than 1 year of political campaigning. Also, I content that the cost of chewing gum is going up at a much slower rate.
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Fairytale Princess Amy

Ask me about last night

So after slogging through another indifferent to miserable day at work, I took off for Liz's for a class. Of course I was in a meeting, my Wed. 5:00 meeting, but they didn't actually need me once in the meeting. I'm not entirely sure they knew I was there, except that I'm always there...lurking.
Anyway, Liz was right. Stitch is wicked easy. I've already finished my first bracelet, . (Yes, I know it's not finished, I need to add a clasp and stuff). I'm relatively pleased with how it came out, although it's worth noting that with the interior hex beads really could have used a larger outside spiral. I'll be aware of adjusting the spiral length to match the four bead length when I set it up.
(And now that February is over, the Bead Challenge entries are up, so you can see what other people did, and another picture of my earrings.)
So after I left class, I booked it home to fetch hoppie who was AMAZINGLY ready to go. We sailed down 62 to the Inn where ibarhis. queenortart, and ubiquitous_cat were staying. We got the hotel and asked at the restaurant about our crew. They had the reservation (in Sue's name, not tpau's, which confused me until much later, the ride home in fact. Actually many things that didn't make sense at the time made sense on the ride home. Like why Hoppie was making Steven and Susan jokes. In my mind, Sue is an entirely different name from Susan.) But anyway, we we waited in the lobby for about maybe 5 minutes and then Sue popped out and asked, "Are you Marci?"
Apparently everyone was in the bar, starting the evening without us. But Sue went off to get them and then we got seated and commenced to talking and eating, and talking, and scaring the hell out of this couple that showed up midway through our dinner, and talking.

I think the pinnacle of our unruliness was when Steve, Hoppie, lensedsqo, and I were trying to explain why sports fans are, and Anna thought it would funny to mention Johnny Damon. In a delightful parody of Dobby, I mimed covering my ears and moaned at the top of my lungs, "Speak not the name! Speak not the name!"
Suddenly I felt the temperature in the room drop about 50 degrees and daggers of hate shooting into me. I turned to my right and there was the couple. I can't describe their expressions, but our waitress came over to apologize to me for them. Which I thought was sorta wrong. They were just looking for a nice night out. They did not bargain for us. I just didn't realize anyone was there. Anyway, we tried to be better after that. Although they probably weren't happy. I apologized to their waitress (It was a slow night, we each had our own waitress) and she told me not to trouble my head about it. They were jerks. Which we'd heard from our waitress, but I'd have expected their waitress to take their side, because, you know, just because, but apparently they hadn't made an attempt to be endearing to her in hopes of getting a table farther from us, which certainly could have been arranged. It seemed like they wanted us to be moved, but never thought to ask for themselves to be moved. Strange huh?

Anyway, we had a blast. It's one of the few times I've come home from hanging out with people that I haven't been able to complain about anyone. How boring is that? I got to flirt like mad with Sue, which is fun. (Well, Ivan/Alyona flirting technically)

Alison, sympathetic after my chocolate post of t'other week brought me Thorntons AND Bendick's chocolate. She's like my newest hero. Actually pretty much everyone in my office loves her. I've been a pleasure and a delight all day because I knew I could bust out the chocolate at the first sign of stress (which was about 20 minutes ago).
Anyway, there are Pictures here of our evening.

Also, I've decided to bust on out my own and learn to love English Premier League. You may now refer to me as the Albion fan. I'm dumping Chelsea and removing myself from solies shadow.