Factoid Of The Day

According to Robert Pape (via Business Week), 42% of suicide bombers have post-secondary educations.  I am currently in the research phase of writing a paper about terrorism, so expect a few more things like this as I find them.  I really want to get some of Robert Pape’s books, seeing as how he is an expert in the field, but the only one that our university has is Bombing To Win, which deals with airpower rather than blowing yourself skyhigh.

That’s The Way To Do It!

Hat tip to Andrew Stuttaford over at the Corner. According to Johan Norberg, the prime minister of Georgia, Zurab Nogaideli (not Sonny Perdue) has plans to make Georgia into a free trade center of the region . The plan? Sell all government companies and all government assets.

I wish the good minister the best of luck, and based on Norberg’s previous report (next posting down on the page), they’re doing a pretty good job of getting into shape. Just don’t join the EU; that’s my advice…

Team Leaderpersons In Madden

So there I was, playing Madden this morning, when I read the Team Captain snippet that shows up before a game begins.  “Team captains are the unofficial spokespersons for their franchise.”  Politicial correctness has destroyed our language enough; can we now not even play a video game in which all of the characters are male (and there are no options of creating female characters) without sex-neutral language?  I mean, I can understand it in a game such as metric football, where most of the men are feminine enough* to warrant sex-neutral language.  But this is real football.  I’m not sure which is sadder:  the idea that some editor saw “spokesmen” and changed it to “spokespersons” or that some writer has so lost any grasp of eloquence that he automatically inserts the nasty word by training.  Really, it’s just sad.  Almost as sad as my halfbacks, who are trying to end up 32nd in the league in rushing.

* – Any sport in which long-haired men flop around and pretend to be hurt after the slightest touch deserves the “effeminate” appelation. It doesn’t mean that metric football can’t be enjoyable to play, but that’s the thing that makes me dislike it so much on the international level.

How To Kill A Weekend

The weather has been mighty fine here these last couple of days, so I’ve not had much interest in doing anything useful.  But I’m still going to blab about it.  Why?  Because I really have nothing better to write about, and Dan has been kidnapped by Colombian, left-wing drug barons.  Why they would go after Dan rather than Tony or me, I’m not sure, but maybe because Stockholm Syndrome would set in quicker with him.

On Friday morning, I got to town at 8 AM so that I could deal with the grinding menace of German bureaucracy.  By 11, I was finally done with the grinding menace of the German bureaucracy.  I would have been done by 9 AM, but I didn’t have everything I needed.  The one thing that I actually needed was a bank statement showing that I was financially self-sufficient.  It took roughly 10 minutes to get it, but then I had to wait in line again.  The entire reason I got there at 8 was so that I wouldn’t have to wait in a long line (because the office opened at 8 AM).  But while I was sitting there, waiting for the queue to wind its way down to me, I did get a chance to do some reading for my classes, so it wasn’t entirely wasted.  Oh, when I say “queue,” I really don’t mean that.  In this bureaucratic office, there is no queue.  Instead, there are some chairs sitting around, but not in any way that could really be distinguished as a line, particularly when you have 12 people waiting.  There are no waiting lists, no tickets, nothing to tell you that I really am ahead of you.  See, bureaucracy is bad enough; bureaucracy without externally-given, well-defined queueing is terrible.  For all the problems that I have with the BMV, the Post Office (though that’s gotten better in recent years), and so forth, at least you have a line and you know when it’s your turn.  But enough kvetching…about that…

After this, I went and messed around in the computer lab for a while, and then had lunch with a friend.  That was rather fun.  She was talking about how pretty much everyone she knows is either an attractive woman or an old man.  “I could live with that,” I said…  I also got her to translate an introductory paragraph into Chinese, so that I may use it for the Chinese tutorial of microeconomics.  My goal is to give the appearance that I know more than I actually do, and the first step is to memorize a few lines of Chinese and spit them out in front of a class.  The second step is to dress up nicely, to distinguish myself from all of the shulbs at the university.  I know this is a college town full of college students, but really, I’m kind of disgusted that nobody around here actually tries to look nice.  Granted, I rarely try to look nice, myself (unless “disheveled and zoned out” counts, and it usually doesn’t), but somebody should at least try to make an effort, so I guess it’ll have to be me.  Either that or I’m making excuses to give me the chance to wear my hat more often…

Friday night was good as well.  I got to meet up with some folks I hadn’t seen in a while, and there were impromptu Hebrew lessons going around.  I did not really partake therein, and I admit that I forget most of what was said, but hey, the food was good, and I (just barely) made the last S-bahn of the night…

I decided to walk to synagogue this morning, and was all decked out.  The hat is of excellent quality, and the walk isn’t even all that bad…now…  Somehow, I think I’ll find excuses not to do it when January rolls around, but at least I’m building up orthodoxy points.

Now it’s Saturday night and I’ve done very little of use for my classes.  Instead, I slept most of my Saturday afternoon away.  Fortunately, I have all day Sunday to do some reading, which means I might actually do a page or two of it…

I’m The Happiest Person You’ve Ever Seen!

“By some theoretical construct, it is possible that I could be doubting my wisdom of being right about what about I’m wrong about, maybe—I don’t know, and of that I am certain.”

Folks, give this a listen.  It is hilarious.  Freaking hilarious!  If you want the full context, check out the Andrew Sullivan interview with Hugh Hewitt.  Lileks is consistently one of the funniest and wittiest guys out there, whether he’s talking about his daughter, the local Target, or the Bush administration’s complicity in the tornado threat…