Supremely awesome moment

For those who don’t watch wrestling, John Cena was recently “fired” in a storyline. Now, there are only a few immutable laws in wrestling:

1) If there’s food on camera, it will end up on somebody.

2) No contract signing has ever ended without fisticuffs breaking out.

3) Any trophy too large to fit in the palm of your hand will inevitably be destroyed.

4) Any talk show type segment (Piper’s Pit, Peep Show, Cutting Edge, etc.) will breakdown into chaos.

And, perhaps the most important rule (yet arbitrarily not no. 1)

5) Nobody is ever actually fired or retires on TV. They’re either hurt or you’ll get a zany new character that is exactly the same as the old one but with a clever new nickname or disguise. Retirements never stick unless the wrestler is crippled or dead.

The funniest example of the “nobody ever gets fired for real” is definitely Mr. America.

It’s worth watching, even for non-wrestling fans. The general crux of the situation is that Mr. America is not Hulk Hogan, since Hulk Hogan was fired by Vince McMahon. All sorts of shenanigans result, including a lie detector test and the stupidest fan’s poll in history: Who is Mr. America? Perhaps Doink the Clown?

WWE went and one upped itself. From 411 Mania, we discovered the brilliant new persona of John Cena.

Answer below the fold for those who don’t like spoilers. Continue reading


The Comments Are Better Than The Post

Tyler Cowen has a post on the nudie scans, and it’s not a very good one.  The first dozen or so comments excoriate his position, and I believe rightfully so.  My absolute favorite comment comes from Josh:  “Is a government that fondles your balls a good government?”

Unless, of course, this is all a Straussian plot on Cowen’s part to show just how silly the entire notion is and how indefensible the government’s position is.

Rail, Then And Now

Three years ago today, Megan McArdle had a blog post asking why the Acela rail system sucked so much (in more polite terms).  I took this as an opportunity to spend a lot of time talking about freight versus passenger rail.

Now, McArdle has a good post describing how freight rail is so useful in the US.  She and I concur in most of the points, though she has recently made stronger points regarding the legal problems in getting the land to build sufficient rail lines.

Dead Rising 2 has fallen

I finished Dead Rising 2 today. I still hold to my earlier review, but I would like to give prospective buyers a little bit more information.

First, the story does pick up quite a bit on Day Two. It’s still not terribly deep, particularly compared to games like InFamous or Red Dead Redemption, but hey, it’s better than a fork in the eye.

Second, the ending you get has absolutely nothing to do with how many survivors you save or psychopaths you kill. The only purpose for doing either is for the PP and to build up levels (I finished on 33), which are worthwhile, but other than that your bonuses aren’t always worth it. I fail to see how anybody could actually save everybody and kill every psycho in one game.

Third, the city is bigger than I thought, but this is actually problematic — it’s false size, since a lot of it is very similar. There is little to distinguish the mall type areas or the casino type areas apart from name and general layout. It’s not like GTA — apart from the main story, survivors, and psychos, there’s not much to do. Strip poker is kind of fun, but you don’t see much (and don’t get to play against any of the really good looking chicks).

Fourth, the first three quarters of the game are much better than the last quarter — your freedom is severely restricted (which is fine) and the super zombies are a HUGE pain in the ass.

It’s still a remarkably well designed game, but there’s less replay value than I thought. The loading screens still cause havoc with the experience and make it far less entertaining, particularly when you’re skipping through  cutscenes you’ve already seen. I do want to let future gamers know of the power of painkillers — nigh indestructibility for sixty real time seconds. They aren’t to make — two of any kind of alcohol (beer + beer, for example) in a blender. The blenders are kind of out of the way, but worth the trip — I recommend carrying two at all times.

Here’s my ideal loadout (assuming eight slots):

Two painkillers

Two food items (OJ, steak, lobster, the all powerful coffee creamer — but not coffee, all of which heal four bars)

Two knife gloves

Ranged weapon (shotgun, frequency disruptor [late game], or Bomb-bow [bow + dynamite)

Crowd control (light saber, defiler, spiked bat).

If you have more slots, carry the magazine that increases food (not sure where it’s at — I think the BBQ joint in the Yucatan Casino), a second crowd control weapon, and perhaps another ranged weapon or food item.

Enjoy! If you’re stuck or have questions, feel free to drop me a line in the comments.


And They’re Right

Paco has an image of a Newsweek cover that has Obama as a left-wing Shiva.  He rightfully makes fun of the “it’s too much even for The Smartest Man Who Ever Lived, so America has really become ungovernable,” but I believe that there is a marked portion of truth in the statement.  Not that Obama is The Smartest Man Who Ever lived, or even that America is, as such, “ungovernable,” but the federal government is where GE was 40 years ago.

I’ve written before about how the federal government is like a late-industrial conglomerate.  Companies would reduce risk by expanding into unrelated industries, so you could smooth out bad years in one field by hopefully having a good year in a different field.  The problem here is that the executives lost the ability to put all of the pieces together.  You had people who were pretty good in their own fields, but there weren’t any people who could put it all together.  When the dog food, light bulb, cash register, air conditioning, and brake pedal division chiefs of SuperBigCo got together, they all argued that they needed more funding, and there wasn’t anybody at the top who could make correct, valid decisions on what to do.  As a result, instead of having five separately-funded, independent companies that could all succeed, and far from having spread out your risk, you were actually tethering lots of companies together, so that if you make a mistake in one, you take the whole thing down.  This is why companies which were highly horizontally integrated went out of vogue and into bankruptcy.

The federal government is in this boat.  A modern President is not necessarily supposed to be an expert on everything under federal purview, but is supposed to be able to balance the needs of all of the different divisions under his control.  The thing is, I seriously doubt Obama even knows the names of all of the departments, sub-departments, and sections under which he has authority, much less what they all do and how they are all supposed to operate.  There is absolutely no way that any man could handle everything associated with being a modern President, and that is yet another reason why we see government failure.  Unlike markets, there is no governmental competition and no knowledge aggregation mechanism which allows dispersed individuals to act in a way harmonious with the actions of others.  Instead, the model of government is command and control, so it all depends upon the top knowing enough.  But the top governmental officers don’t know nearly enough to control things effectively.

There is only one way to make America “governable” again, and it doesn’t involve culling ideologies or political parties.  It involves scaling down the federal government.  Let’s start by getting rid of 2/3 of governmental responsibilities, regulatory bodies, departments, and pieces of legislation.  2/3 is a number I pulled out of a hat, but it’s probably a good starting point.  That way, the President and the remainder of his cabinet can focus more effectively on the remainder of the government, thereby being able to make better decisions.  As it stands now, there is simply too much going on for any man.