Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to School for Automakers

The EPA is considering adding letter grades to auto emissions placards on new cars.  Read the full article on the wapo or check out the design. Of course, another option is a boring revision of the current placard.  Me personally, I’d like to see a big F on a Hummer.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Could Arcade Fire be Any Cooler


NO.  NOW GO TO THIS SITE NOW: http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/

You can read about it afterwards here.

Nate Silver, Hero to Geeks

If you use to follow fivethirtyeight.com and wonder now where it went, Nate inked a deal with the NYTimes to incorporate the blog. Ok, interesting enough.

In his latest post, Silver argues that all of the inflated journalism surrounding the lowered GDP estimates is more playing to the double dip narrative and less fact.   If you haven’t followed the news, the latest estimate for GDP quarter growth was reported as less than stellar.  In fact, some looked at it and said it was indicative of a double dip recession.  Reporters were practically drooling to release the news as it played to the Obama isn’t doing enough story.  What Silver argues though, is that the numbers are skewed by two factors.  Overall, demand is up and most factors are positive.

So what is the truth behind the revision.

1) State and local government spending is down.  This we knew.

2) Imports are up dramatically.  In fact, most of the increase in domestic demand is being fed by imports, which are cheaper.  And imports minus exports is an adjustment to GDP.  But why the surge in imports?  US manufacturers have been trimming their inventories and their capacities in the wake of the Great Recession.  And foreign importers are lowering prices to keep and attract buyers.  So with cheap foreign goods available, distributors are looking overseas to restock their inventories.

What this means is that gross domestic product might be down, but demand is healthy. 

So don’t panic yet.  And say something nice to a geek today. And make sure you check behind the curtain.

I’ll Buy That for a Dollar

Next time you find yourself with cash in your wallet or purse, imagine this concept from designboom.  They even thought out each denomination.  Anyways, it’s not going to remotely happen but designboom puts together a cool case.  I’ll take 1,000 please.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Always Thought Dr. Pepper was a Coke Product

Apparently, it’s not.

Anyways, here’s who’s pushing sugary water.  Three companies.  Check out this amazingly detailed look at the beverage industry.  And then drink more water.


While we’re on the subject, here’s a BBQ sauce recipe for the Southerners out there who can’t get enough of their Coca-Cola. 


And just to round out the post, here’s an interesting site that shows us how many sugar cubes are in a Coke (it’s not good). http://www.sugarstacks.com/breakfast.htm

Pop tarts too … man, nothing is sacred anymore.

Of course, this being the moogaz, we return to politics.  Keep an eye out in September for the House to take up Michelle Obama’s Hunger Free Kids Act.  The Senate quickly passed it before the August recess.  The House will probably look to make it meatier, adding to the amount spent per meal by 6 cents when what’s really needed is $1-2.  But either way, a bill passed that gives the Agricultural Department the ability to get rid of vending machines from schools and adds to the quality of  30 million meals a day while taking aim at the obesity of our kids is a good bill in my book.  The Senate and the House reconvene on September 13th.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Septembers, 38 Years Apart

On an overcast September morning, there was a blast.  Windows were blown out and walls collapsed.  The work of a group of terrorists would be exposed.  Thousands of mourners would gather to hear national leaders speak.  Songs would be written.  National laws soon after changed.

Some years after, members of the same religion as the terrorists would try to build a community center downtown, only a couple of streets away from the horrible act.

But no one revolted.  No one protested.  It wasn’t considered “bad taste” or “an affront to the victims” In fact the community center would be supported by the Governor.  And by the 1990’s, this center would be heralded for its value to students. (article)

The blast was the September 1963 16th Street church bombing in Birmingham Alabama.  And it was carried out by an extremist organization, the United Klans of America (history here and here).  They screamed for the take down of American Jews.  They terrorized their neighbors into silence and spoke in the name of Christianity. 

In fact no one associated these terrorists with Christianity.  No one assumed they were a bulwark of Christian values. They were a hate group.  And the country gathered to mourn its people’s losses and fight for its people rights. Martin Luther King inspired us to dream.

Today, my dental hygienist said she thought it was an affront to the honor of the 9-11 victims that “they” would build a mosque near the WTC.  She didn’t mean any harm, and in fact she said she wanted to learn more by reading Three Cups of Tea.  But the winds of intolerance seem to be blowing (article).  I don’t blame her.  I blame the lack of Martin Luther Kings.


Friday, August 20, 2010

First 100 Days

Today is the 100th day since our first posting on the moogaz.  I thought maybe we were around that benchmark and needed a blog post title and then sure enough, I went to Excel and popped in a formula and well, today is exactly 100 days.  Weird.

With most of our authors either having a baby or getting married, content’s been a little dry this past week (get on that Jim).  Alas though, we received our first cross-blog promotional bit from a site called Team Scrappy.  I can’t possibly do justice to these spedo wearing idiots, so you’ll just have to go there and read their post “Why you Shouldn’t Fart in a Wetsuit”. 

There are some really dumb infographics out there on the first 100 days (see this and this if you want really crappy infographics).  I decided instead to choose a meaningless image to adorn our 100 days celebratory post.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Driving Is Why You’re Fat

By all infographic standards, this graph fails except for one.  I can barely read the data and it isn’t clear what they’re trying to show at first glance.  But the message is key. It shows that states where people bike and walk more to work and commute by car less have healthier less obese populations.  Little blue people are more obese than little white people.  Little white squares mean biking, walking and taking the bus, little blue squares mean driving.

Angling on Social Security

Watch Sharon Angle's hands on this news spot. It's tiring but very entertaining.

Also, why do local network news channels insist on utilizing long and at time overly surreal video montages? In this spot we have a bizarre use of zeros and ones a la the Matrix with a social secruity card floating in the middle. It's obviously just there to fill time but can't they come up with anything better?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Reasonable Dowd


When she's nuts, she's nuts. But when she is right, she's dead on. Realize that it hurts me somewhat to write this but i think i agree with everything in this editorial. We've said for a while that the press secretary should have more theatre, after all, they talk to the press. Doesn't get much more theatrical.

But what scares me is the concise tear down by the left she summaries in the one line comparing Fox to MSNBC.

I rip on Dowd a lot because she often writes about such trivial things. White House party crashers or real housewives of DC. But i know she writes about this because I check her column all the time. And i check her column for insight like this.

Still feel kinda dirty though.


Oh and no baby yet. Cramping and nausea which is a good sign for some reason. But no baby.

Location:State St,Portland,United States

Friday, August 13, 2010

Debbie Riddle has the face of the Joker

I think Anderson Cooper is about as entertaining as a dish rag.  But this clip with Representative Debbie Riddle of the Texas State House is priceless.  It kills me that Nancy Pelosi constantly gets crap about Botox but no one goes after this whack-job.  Her batshit crazy opinion about “terror babies” aside, what is most remarkable is how she speaks without moving her upper lip.  It’s surreal.

Right around 9:50 when she starts screaming “the emperor has no clothes,” Prince should be playing in the background.

She’s not crazy.  She simply wants all of the illegal immigrants to stop having babies in the US so that they might later legally enter the US with a “dirty bomb in a suitcase.”

Oh yeah, and her face on the one dollar bill.

Moving back to a Producing Economy

This article by The Financial Times lays out the Great Recession and steps the US could take to transition from consuming to exporting.  It’s an interesting, easy read written from a worldly viewpoint.  (some articles require a FT account, not sure if this is one of them).

Can anyone see the irony in reading this article?  Bonus points if you write it in the comments.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

As if Arizona wasn't crazy enough

Dan Quayle’s son is running for the House in AZ’s 3rd and has just come out with this add.  His ads continue to shock people on both sides of the isle for various reasons.  Even fake viking & Obama-hater Erik Ericson took a dig at him for advertizing a family he doesn't have.  But this one leaves them all behind.

Aside from the ridiculous claim he starts off with, you have to ask yourself how anyone votes for someone who looks so young Amicis could be his dad.  Up next, Justin Bieber for Senate!

Am I Hot or Not

Simplyhired.com lets you enter a job title and see its trend over the last 18 months.  Looking up for baristas, down for missile defense people, and kind of hit and miss for steamboat pilots.

How to Become Wicked Smaht

From How to be an Unselfish Business Analyst, go learn:


How to Write More Clearly, Think More Clearly, and Learn Complex Material More Easily

He lost it in the lights

He really lost it earlier in the evening when he put on that hat.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No explanation

But really, do you need one?

All the World is a Stage

It’s true the title came from a brief encounter with a sauced ivory tusk trader at Brian Buru’s, so if you’re out there – cheers (and please stop trading in illegal shit).  But alas, this post is for Robert Gibbs, who although not sauced, needs to take a cue from melancholy Jacques and just return to the forest. 


In the latest jest from our fool, Gibbs launches a tirade at the house of Progressives (thanks be to Huff Po).  Well apparently, he’s bitter from watching too much cable.  Aren’t we all?  A true fool can rise above the cackles of London and draw a crowd.  Here, we have a fools impersonator.  He has a microphone and some lines but no direction.  His ink well is a pint low and everyone’s leaving the Globe theater to see the gladiators fight over on Fox TV. 

Great press secretaries can create or kill stories.  When Pierre Salinger was asked about Mr. Kennedy having an affair, he replied (courtesy of WaPo) “Look, he's the president of the United States. He's got to work 14 to 16 hours a day. He's got to run foreign and domestic policy. If he's got time for mistresses after all that, what the hell difference does it make?” End of story.

Sure, it’s the Presidents that have to lead.  But without a great muse, what do we remember of the kingdom?  It’s time for Gibbs to go.

And for those interested, here’s the whole opener to As You Like It.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Independent conversation


Last Friday Keith, Pat and I were discussing the very dynamic applications of the term “Indie” specific to music.  Basically what does it mean when we say that so-and-so is an “indie band?”  Does it define the label?  the sound? the pretentiousness of the fan base? the quantity of PBR consumed during recording sessions?  or is it one of those terms that has been applied do diversely that it has no practical meaning? like progressive and conservative.

As is the case with most internationally acclaimed publications, the New Yorker wanted in on our conversation.  This week Sasha Frere-Jones discusses the Indie environment specific to the case of Arcade Fire’s new album The Suburbs.  He discusses how indie labels like Matador and Merge are fulfilling the traditional role of the label (distribution, merchandising and money making) but are better at it than the majors.  Mostly because they know how to use the interweb.

But digital technology has upended the way people hear music, making recordings less dependable commodities, so that the profits brought in by a BeyoncĂ© may no longer pay for smaller prestige acts on her label, Sony Music—they probably just pay the bills.

While the conclusion seems to be you can make more money on a major label, the chances of success are smaller and smaller every day.  It seems more bands are opting for moderate touring fame rather than gaga fame that “permeate[s] every night club, taxi, bodega, and drugstore”

Now that the outsized profits of the CD era have disappeared, the music business is rapidly retrenching. With a limited amount of money to make—a sum dwarfed by movies, video games, and sporting events—many bands may figure out that major labels’ publicity budgets are an unsustainable luxury.

All due respect to Mr. Frere-Jones, the definitive work on the subject was done by Paste magazine writer Rachel Maddux (so close) earlier this year.  Read it all hear.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Intercepting BP's Annulus

The glossary needs to expand!

"I will declare this well dead once we've intercepted the annulus," [National Incident Commander Thad] Allen said. From here.

Giving Up

This video lays it all out. Thanks again Jon Stewart.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
I Give Up - 9/11 Responders Bill
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Art Time of Year on this Blog

Why do people hate this public art piece so? 

If you aren’t familiar with Portland, there’s a median that was redesigned in 2007 which is suppose to mimic the waves of the ocean with waves of undulating grass.  For my part, it’s an interesting piece in the middle of an otherwise ignorable area. Here are a couple of shots.

Portland, Maine (wikipedia link)20100803_ TraceFore

Every couple of weeks, there’s a new article or buzz around town on how the art sucks and they never should’ve built it. This week’s article made it to the Press Herald.  Of all of the things in Portland that need improvement, why focus on this?  I think the waves are nice.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Useful Life Skills

This one is from ChaCha.com.  Prepare yourself for a national tournament or just beat your friends. 

How Do I Win Rock Paper Scissors Every Time?

A Little Basic, but Kind of Fun

Recovering from a bachelor party weekend, I found this fun little NY Times quiz.  Needs more questions and some of the questions are pretty nuanced to answer just Yes or No but who’s complaining.  Another cup of coffee and I’ll be less grumpy.