Song of the Day (3/17/2018)

Today’s song of the day is Night’s On Fire by David Nail. Country song but pretty mainstream and solid.

So. Stormy Daniels. Turning out to be a real headache for Donald Trump of the East and his team of winged monkeys. There’s a real threat that she’s going to come out and actually admit that she had sexual relations with Trump. That said, if Hillary were elected, we would’ve been similarly dismayed had Slick Willy come out and actually admit that he has had sexual relations with Hillary.

This Stormy business will all blow over in time. Knowing that Trump was there first, how many more guys can be willing to tongue punch her fart box? Much like the Apple iWatch, she’ll eventually be forgotten as the channels dry up and she finds herself sliding around too few fists.

Which brings me to my next point – Happy (belated) International Women’s Day (two Thursdays ago)! There’s a new female in my office who began earlier that week and we hired her as we’re absolutely swamped with projects and client mandates. While us guys were at the office until 1am that Thursday for an upcoming presentation, she chose to leave and head home slightly before 7pm, no shit. Coincidentally enough, that’s exactly 77% of the day! A HORSE, A HORSE, MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE!!! Find me the female analyst who stays late into the evening, toiling away on the keyboard to perfect that presentation. Find me the female analyst who foregoes personal relationships and hobbies to put the client above all else. Which female analyst will take this message and deliver it to Garcia?

Well, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and I’m off to buy some Irish Cod filets to tenderize and slow-cook. In turns out, much like Aziz Ansari, I like home cooking oysters and mussels in my own kitchen, only he ultimately found a clam he couldn’t crack.

Well I’m off to take a shit before running to the seafood market. I had an appointment so I need someone to tell them I’m running behind, but not that I have a runny behind!



Peyton Manning, Legend

Just a random collection of videos from arguably the greatest football player AND entertainer of all time.  You’ll surely appreciate these:

  1. Manning Enjoying New Retirement Home
  2. Peyton Manning Opening Monologue at ESPYs 2017
  3. Peyton’s Super Bowl Party Gone Bad
  4. SNL Digital Short: United Way – SNL
  5. Peyton Manning Commercials Compilation NFL Ads (note that YouTube often removes the ad compilation videos so you may have to search for this, should the link not work).

Watch them, well worth your time!


Random Bidtits (3/13/2018)

Nothing but entertaining photos today:

…Happy International Women’s Day!

And finally, my first impression of the authors of this study is that they would’ve fit in better at DePaul.


Article Recommendation from Arch Stanton: $1,500 Sandwich Illustrates How Exchange Raises Living Standards

Great article from this blog on the economics of free trade. While I typically avoid blogs given they’re really just a mouthpiece for gutless, nameless bitchers and moaners, this article was different. But before I share the article, here’s a piece of produce from my local grocer:

Took this ages ago. I’ve been sitting on this one for a while… I had to shift it from its prior location – it was bruising the plums. Reminds me, Toys ‘R’ Us is liquidating. Any sell-side bankers want to pitch this to Brazzers or Dogfart? If Kids ‘R’ Us goes up for sale, we could sell it to Apple as an upstream vertical integration play – the name perfectly bespeaks their Chinese supplier base.

And the article:

$1,500 Sandwich Illustrates How Exchange Raises Living Standards

What would life be like without exchange or trade? Recently, a man decided to make a sandwich from scratch. He grew the vegetables, gathered salt from seawater, milked a cow, turned the milk into cheese, pickled a cucumber in a jar, ground his own flour from wheat to make the bread, collected his own honey, and personally killed a chicken for its meat. This month, he published the results of his endeavor in an enlightening video: making a sandwich entirely by himself cost him 6 months of his life and set him back $1,500.

(It should be noted that he used air transportation to get to the ocean to gather salt. If he had taken it upon himself to learn to build and fly a plane, then his endeavor would have proved impossible).

The inefficiency of making even something as humble as a sandwich by oneself, without the benefits of market exchange, is simply mind-boggling. There was a time when everyone grew their own food and made their own clothes.  It was a time of unimaginable poverty and labor without rest.

The greater the number of people involved in exchange, the more beneficial the process becomes. This morning, thanks to international trade, I am drinking coffee grown in Latin America, viewing a computer screen with eyeglasses made in Europe, and typing this blog post on a keyboard made in Asia. Fortunately, freedom to trade internationally has improved, on average, around the world. Increased trade has helped raise living standards and decrease global poverty.

However, the recent trend in the United States is less positive. If trade protectionist politicians, like Bernie Sanders on the left and Donald Trump on the right, have their way, then U.S. freedom to trade internationally may deteriorate further. They put down trade by claiming that it harms the U.S. economy and destroys jobs. Yet, there is a widespread agreement among economists that free trade is key to prosperity.

This morning, as you drink your coffee, take a moment to consider where it comes from. You probably would not be drinking it right now if it were not for trade. This video elegantly draws attention to the myriad ways in which the exchange of goods and services across national borders touches lives and helps raise living standards. Almost everything you use is the product of a complex web of human cooperation, often extending beyond your country. Even something as simple as a bag of groceries or a pencil is the end result of a “symphony of human activity that spans the globe.”


Random Bidtits (3/3/2018) and Article on Recycling

First off. I saw a poster for “Hamilton.” Am I the only person on Earth who didn’t realize our founding father was black?

Also, very few of you will know that Chris Kennedy, son of Bobby Kennedy, is running for Governator of Illinois. But did you know that he did a brief cameo in the South Park series as those lovable Hardy Boys?




Another amusing article today. I’m a huge fan of recycling and I often go out of my way to move the cans and bottles from people’s garbage to their recycling bins when leaving the office at night. But I love this guy’s bitter musings. It’s from Bloomberg’s The Daily Grind of Recycling.

Warm feelings about saving the planet have given way to the drudgery of sorting and rinsing and nagging from the government.

The other day, I had an epiphany: If recycling were not required by law, I probably wouldn’t bother.

Okay, I’m a horrible person. But bear with me. In the wake of a blizzard, I was rolling the huge town-provided recycling bin to the curb for pickup. Downhill. Through the snow. On a steep driveway, imprecisely plowed. The walk was treacherous. I slipped once or twice.

And I began to wonder what I was doing.

Recycling is supposed to produce a warm we’re-in-this-together glow, as we join hands in solidarity to save the planet. Small children practice it in school as a sacred ritual of the secular religion. For years now, I’ve been able to smile inwardly at the knowledge that along with my neighbors, I’m doing the right thing.

Lately, however, recycling doesn’t feel like ritual. It’s just work. A lot of work. Sometimes a lot of hard work.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m old enough to have been excited about the original Earth Day in 1970. I remember smiling high schoolers circulating through the cafeteria with boxes and bags to collect what we would now call recyclables. I seem to recall doing a bit of circulating myself. Back then it was fun. One had the sense of doing good through the process of persuading others to do good. There was no coercion. There was not even much peer pressure. Just volunteers encouraging people to turn over what they were going to discard anyway.

Now it’s law; it’s been the law so long that today’s young people cannot remember when it wasn’t. And with each passing season, the rules seem to grow more complicated. My wife and I are constantly getting online warnings (and paper flyers) from our Connecticut town, usually couched in a tone somehow contriving to suggest that we residents aren’t quite up to the mark: Too many of you are including plastic bags. Or polystyrene. Too many of you are leaving your boxes unbroken. Or broken but with food clinging to the cardboard.

There’s so much to remember. If bottle caps are loose, keep them out of the recycling bin. (That’s what the state decrees, anyway; my town says caps are fine.) Don’t just rinse your aluminum cans but dry them too. (Water is bad.) As to those plastic bags that don’t go in the bin, don’t toss them in the trash either, but find a place that accepts them and drop them off there. Or better still — we are told — buy reusable bags. Sure, serious researchers consider them carriers of germs and infection. But that’s okay. Just wash them regularly. (More work.) Oh, and take your wire coat hangers back to the dry cleaners.

People who imagine that these tasks take no investment of time must not be terribly busy. But if we don’t perform this important labor for free (so we are scolded sternly), someone else will have to be paid to do it. That will only raise costs. In other words, the only way to make recycling economically viable is to constantly pile more work atop those of us who only live here.

Not that recycling seems to be viable — not beyond aluminum cans and plastics number 1 and 2. The rest of it can’t be processed at a profit. (Glass bottles and jars present a particular challenge.) As it turns out, much of the more valuable stuff can’t be processed at a profit either. Not unless the rest of us do a lot of the labor.

This perhaps is part of the problem. When we consumers are busy stacking the wire hangers and screwing the caps tightly onto the plastic bottles and examining cardboard for the tiniest traces of food, we’re not laboring in the first instance to improve the environment. We’re laboring so that private companies can make a profit — companies hired by localities to handle recycling, and unable to figure out any way to stay in business except by conscripting householders. Imagine an auto repair shop announcing that in order to keep prices low, customers will henceforth be required to do some of the work on their cars. Business would dry up overnight.

I’m not against recycling. I understand that if the practice isn’t mandatory, a lot of people won’t bother. We also know that curbside pickup increases the likelihood of compliance, especially among those for whom a few cents deposit on a bottle constitutes a pittance. And in any case kitchen sorting is, we might say, a transitional technology. Robot sorters are improving rapidly, and may soon be able to pick the bad stuff out of the single recycling stream faster and more accurately than humans ever could.

In the meantime, what began nearly half a century back as a movement among happy optimists has become like too much else to which government turns its attention: heavy-handed, coercive, distant and thick with detailed rules. Recycling may be important, but it’s no longer romantic. It’s not fun. Nowadays, recycling isn’t solidarity. It’s ritualistic drudgery.

Still, fear not. I have every intention of playing my part. Until the arrival of the sorting robots, I’ll go on laboring in the kitchen and garage to keep recyclables separate and pristine. I’ll keep telling myself that I’m helping to save the planet, even when in actual fact I’m contributing my free labor to waste management companies that would be unprofitable if they had to pay for my services.

Is there compensation? Sure. But it’s no longer the warm glow that comes from the knowledge that I’m doing the right thing; it’s the single stream of reminders from my town that I’m doing the right thing all wrong.


Article: United Replaces Small Worker Bonuses With Chance to Win $100,000

This article is absolutely gold, GOLD JERRY! How on Trump’s green Earth is United getting away with this shenanigan? The article, United Replaces Small Worker Bonuses With Chance to Win $100,000, is from Bloomberg. Article below:

United Continental Holdings Inc. is overhauling an incentive program to give employees a chance to win $100,000, a luxury car or a swanky vacation. One union leader says his membership would rather have a shot at bonuses that are far, far smaller — but also a much surer thing.

Under the new approach, one lucky winner will take home the six-figure cash prize every quarter, with as many as 10 people getting Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans or $40,000 each, President Scott Kirby said in a memo to employees Friday. The program includes smaller awards as well. Workers need perfect attendance to participate. And the airline has to hit its performance targets.

“We believe that this new program will build excitement and a sense of accomplishment as we continue to set all-time operational records that result in an experience that our customers value,” Erin Benson, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based carrier, said in an email.

The prize drawings are a sharp break from the past, when the airline would pay broad-based employee bonuses of as much as $300 a quarter if it hit certain on-time operational measurements, said Craig Symons, president of United’s flight dispatchers union. For some employees, he said, a chance at a new Mercedes apparently isn’t as nice as a small-but-steady stream of cold, hard cash.

“I think everybody really likes Scott Kirby’s ‘If you’re not first, you’re last’ competitiveness,” Symons said. “We all want to win, but this program doesn’t encourage a team approach to winning. No team-oriented reward should be dictated by lottery.”