Thursday, July 06, 2006

 

Thoughts, Now in Fun Size!

- Why is it that, in the Northeast, house numbers usually start in the single digits (5 Main Street), but in the Midwest, they often start with four digits and go up from there (3490 Main Street)? Which way do they work in the South? California? In Canada, are they somehow metric? Do they have to be repeated in French?

- It would be cool if we provided basic liability insurance for cars through a gas tax. (People who wanted more-than-basic could always buy it on the existing market.) As it is, if I took a bus to work twice a week (assuming, falsely, that the option existed), my cost of driving would decline only by the gas I didn’t consume. But if insurance were tied to gas, my savings would increase by the insurance I didn’t consume. Increase the marginal cost of new miles. (We’d have to leave collision insurance to the existing market, for some fairly obvious incentive reasons.)

- Why is it that, even though I last had a Shamrock Shake about 30 years ago, I could still describe its flavor, color and texture, but if you asked me which shirt The Boy wore yesterday, I’d be stumped?

- Why is bunting illegal in softball?

- Why is it that major franchise chains totally dominate the hamburger market, and increasingly dominate the hoagie/sub/grinder/hero market, but are relatively minor players in the pizza market?

- Has there ever been a lyric as inane as Van Halen’s “only time will tell if we stand the test of time”? (And I’m not counting “yeah yeah” or “oo oo.” Sentences only.)

- Back when Indecent Proposal came out, I remember Mom objecting that the premise was implausible. Robert Redford and money, or Woody Harrelson and poverty – to her, there was no dilemma; take Redford and the money, end of movie. I have a similar response to Big Love. Bill Paxton is married to Jeanne Tripplehorn. Definitely with ya so far. Then, he feels the need to marry Chloe Sevigny. Huh? The other way around, I could understand. This way, no.

- Why is it that nothing is more certain to lower my morale than morale-building exercises?

- If education is the key to success, why are there so many struggling adjuncts?

- If estate tax is reimposed fully on Jan.1, 2011, which is currently the state of things, I suspect there would be some very suspicious deaths around December of 2010. Incentives, and all that.

- If water is clear, why is the ocean blue? (The Boy asked me this, and I drew a blank.)

- If Chester the Molester moves onto my street, and the state posts his whereabouts on the Megan’s Law website and my property value drops, is that a ‘taking’ for fifth amendment purposes? If so, am I entitled to compensation for my lost property value? After all, the state’s act of publicizing his presence effectively confiscated the value of my property, in the name of a public use (that is, safety).

- Does the Constitution require that a President not use a pseudonym? (I’m thinking that Jimmy Carter’s given name wasn’t Jimmy, so maybe not.) I’m just askin’...

- On the 4th of July, I caught the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN. I couldn’t look, yet I couldn’t look away. The highlight, about ten minutes in, when the two frontrunners were in a virtual dead heat: one announcer says, “Now it all comes down to hot dog management.” Indeed it does.

- Is there a better compliment in the world than when The Girl pushes the The Boy off my lap, yelling “My Daddoo!”? (I’ll answer that one: no.)

Comments:
Here they start at 1 at the water and go up as you go north, so you have the, eg, 4500s at all the same cross street; they also start at 1 at a street in the middle of the city and increase in either direction. Towns within the city usually renumber starting at 1.

In the UK, the numbers seem to go up one side and down the other, which confuses me.

"My humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps."

Water scatters light. A glass of water doesn't have enough width to scatter light, but the ocean does. Also in part it reflects the sky.
 
"But if insurance were tied to gas, my savings would increase by the insurance I didn’t consume. "

I've owned a car for 9 years in 3 different states, and each time when I set up my auto insurance, they ask me "how many miles do you drive to work each day?" and when I tell them, "zero," they classify the car as a "pleasure vehicle" and get me lower rates.

YM, as they say, may vary.
 
Your thought about morale-building exercises reminded me of when my sixth-grade class went on a "Confidence Course" built for corporate types. On the very first exercise, I was supposed to stand on a wire suspended four feet off the ground, leaning against a person on another wire four feet away. If I felt myself starting to fall, I should just lean back and my classmates would catch me. I leaned back, and my classmates moved out of the way. What I learned from the "Confidence Course"? Never trust anyone for any reason, ever. Also: all the things you think you can do, you can't do.

Morale building is depressing.
 
Jimmy Buffet: "If the phone doesn't ring, it's me."
 
In certain cities, you can get rid of your car and use Flexcar or Zipcar. These are car sharing programs where the rate (about $8-$9 per hour for just occasional use) include gas and insurance. I plan on going carless with this next move in a month or so, use my bike most days, and rent one of these car shares for 2 Saturday mornings a month to run errands. It will be totally worth it.

Pizza chains are dominate in certain parts of the country, particularly the west, in the same way that hamburger chains are dominate.
 
In the UK, the numbers seem to go up one side and down the other, which confuses me.

It's much more common over here to be odd one side and even the other. But we will always try to start from one and work upwards.

But I'm right with your mum on Indecent Proposal: Robert Redford and the money? A no-brainer. Of course, why Redford was supposed to fancy Demi Moore (ugh) was always beyond me.
 
"Why is it that major franchise chains totally dominate the hamburger market, and increasingly dominate the hoagie/sub/grinder/hero market, but are relatively minor players in the pizza market?"

I guess we'd need to define "dominate" and "minor players" here, wouldn't we? Pizza Hut? Dominos? Papa Johns? Where I live they've got a relatively large--and growing--market share.
 
My daughter actually pushed my son off the alter while yelling 'that's my mommy' while her father and I were getting married. In front of all our assembled family and friends. I guess it's a compliment, but in my opinion, they could have slugged it out later ... I guess that's the price one pays for marrying after having the kids, rather than before!
 
James Earl Carter, Jr.
 
William Jefferson Blythe, anyone?

I think it was Roger Ebert who said Indecent Proposal would've been more interesting (if not better) if the millionaire were a little more dubious in looks and persona (James Woods, Christopher Walken, De Niro) and the young wife by someone more 'virginal', Jennifer Jason Leigh or Bridget Fonda.
 
On water: I believe that it is both absorption in the red (so we see blue, the complementary color) and also particulate scattering (such that its color is reflected back up to us). A glass of water is clear both because it's too small to scatter, and because the absorption is weak. There's a great J Chem ed article on it, reprinted here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~etrnsfer/water.htm
 
around here (Pac NW), house numbers generally start in the hundreds and go up from there.

it's easiest to see in those towns or parts of towns that have clear grids. houses south of 4th street SE are numbered 401, 402, etc. houses north of 135th st NE are 13501, 13502, and so on.
 
I've never thought of Jennifer Jason Leigh as 'virginal.' I guess she must have been, at some point.

The problem with the 'pleasure driver' category is that it's all-or-nothing; either you drive to work, or you don't. Tying the insurance to gas would allow for reductions for people who take the bus one or two days a week, or who carpool.

Maybe it's the large Italian population in these parts, but in addition to Pizza Hut and Domino's, we have lots of little local places with names like "Vinny's" and "Tony's." They're usually better, and cheaper, than the chains.

Come to think of it, Chinese take-out is almost entirely little local places. There's a HUGE business opportunity out there for whomever starts the first mass franchise for Chinese takeout.
 
Come to think of it, Chinese take-out is almost entirely little local places. There's a HUGE business opportunity out there for whomever starts the first mass franchise for Chinese takeout.

You never had a LeeAnn Chin's in your area? Maybe not. It's been very popular around the Twin Cities, but when General Mills bought the chain from its founder and tried to 'take it national', they didn't have much luck.

Someday, perhaps.
 
"I've never thought of Jennifer Jason Leigh as 'virginal.' I guess she must have been, at some point."

She's more virginal now than she used to be. (I saw her in Flesh and Blood, opposite Rutger Hauer, and was scarred for life.)

Pizza: It's 'cause we're in the Northeast, DD. We have tons and tons of Italian families who know how to make good pizza, and next to them, Domino's is just left standing.

OTOH, we have nothing but chain Mexican. Go to Texas or SoCal, and you can't throw a rock without hitting a great little taqueria.
 
Mass franchise for chinese: PF Chang's. I suppose it's not take-out, but still.

As for the pizza v. hamburger franchising, yes, thee are pizza franchises where I live, but the local places (or semi-local - chains that are only regional or in this particular metropolitan area, for example)thrive alongside them. The neighborhood pizza place still exists, even though there isn't a huge Italian population here. That said, I don't think I've EVER seen a non-franchise hamburger place where I live.
 
Hmm. I hear what you're saying about her character on Big Love, but I still think of Chloe Sevigny pre-Boys Don't Cry. :)
 
In Baltimore, your pizza vs. hamburger analogy works best for fried chicken-- in this city, you can throw a stone and hit a tiny fried-chicken takeout place, but KFCs are much more sparse, and there are no other chix chains. Altho, there are also no Pizza Huts within the Baltimore city limits at all, so that works too!
 
Re the 1/1/2011 reimposition of the estate tax: If I recall correctly, in one of his NYT columns Paul Krugman referred to the pertinent legislation as the "Throw Momma From The Train Tax Bill". ;)
 
It would be cool if we provided basic liability insurance for cars through a gas tax...

I like the idea, though discrepancies, such as low-mileage vehicles having higher liability costs, may need to be worked out. (SUVs may provide a counterexample of higher costs being justified, though.) I find it frustrating to spend $4/day on insurance for a car that I use once or twice a week. I have a train but no zipcar.

Property values: This analogy may be a stretch, but I think there was some judicial review in the context of environmental regulation affecting property values. (An owner was restricted in how they could use their land due to the presence of protected wildlife species.) I forget the legal outcome, though.

Pizza here is local places (northeast). I sense that upscale restaurant chains (Capital Grille, McCormick and Schmicks, ...) are becoming more prevalent, even in cities with a good local restaurant scene.

You can show The Boy that the blue ocean water is clear if you fill a cup or bucket with it. I think a bathtub may even be enough water to get a faint tinge of blue.
 
In Ontario we have a Chinese chain called Ho
Lee Chow. Say it out loud.
 
"If Chester the Molester moves onto my street . . ."

You make a really great point here. And I'm sure that you're not going to suggest that ignorance is the right solution. So what is? This is one of the reasons I favor the death penalty for Chester the Molester.

You notion that the state should be held liable for your loss of property values is misguided, as the state didn't commit the crime (unless one characterizes premature prison release as a crime).
 
If water is clear, why is the ocean blue? (The Boy asked me this, and I drew a blank.)

It reflects the blue sky. When the sky is dark or cloudy, the ocean is grey.
 
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