We've Got Rankings 

Take a gander at ESPN's rankings of the best Football states. Can't say I'm surprised to see Texas sitting on top. Indiana finished a respectable #20. Top 15 below, and full list over here.

1. Texas
2. California
3. Florida
4. Pennsylvania
5. Ohio
6. Georgia
7. Michigan
8. Louisiana
9. New Jersey
10. Wisconsin
11. Illinois
12. Alabama
13. Virginia
14. North Carolina
15. Missouri

Furthermore, can you believe that there are now national rankings for High School Football? Is it necessary to put national emphasis on very local teams? How can they even arrive at reasonably balanced rankings when most teams in the Top 10, 20 even 200 will rarely play one another?


Mega Death Gun 

Macky is back, though likely in small doses. Thanks for holding down the fort, Saxy. First order of business: this gun. It's called the DREAD and it appears to represent one of the more significant advances in small arms technology in the last 100 years. We're talking 120,000 (thousand!) rounds per minute! My calculator tells me that's 2000 rounds per second. On top of that, there is no recoil, muzzle flash or other side effects found in conventional small weapons. I'm not big on guns, but this thing is a pretty incredible piece of science.

Here's a little YouTube-ige. This short is great because it plays out like one of those film strips you used to watch back in elementary school. Remember film strips?



The gift for the continent who has nothing 

I gather it's rather fashionable (and, not a bad idea to boot) to give the gift of vicarious charity (you know, where money goes to the needy on the gift receipient's behalf) to friends whom you are not particularly close to. My friend points me to this website with gifts of this kind, but with a development aid and novelty flavor. My favorite, which sounds like a gag gift at Spencer's in the mall:

Prize bull semen, single delivery - £10
In Africa, areas devastated by conflict find cattle breeds weakened. The prime requirement in the development of stronger and more productive milkers is a prize bull. £1,200 buys a hunk of beefcake with the ability to service thousands of cows (often personally). Maintain his peak performance with feed for six months. At £10 a shot, his semen, delivered to the farmer, is a gift loaded with potential.

Well, it turns out to be a rather reasonable need that's being filled there. This approach to charity, methinks, is a good one. One bypasses the mundane obligatory nature of charitable giving and augments it with originality, which ultimately is kinda the point behind giving a gift.

The kicker is, this company is endorsed by Twiggy. Yes, that Twiggy.

This also reminds me of the fundamental problem in development aid: the top-down approach. William Easterly (channeling Peter Bauer) understands that the problems of a developing country will only be properly understood by those on the ground. Thus, these kinds of gifts probably aren't found in a government manual or a UN development report, but instead mostly come from the NGOs that fulfill the orders.



Justin Timberlake's latest relationship 

Inspired by Saturday Night Live's latest "digital short" phenom (is this a once a year thing?), I've put together some of multi-host and multi-musical guest Justin Timberlake's greatest hits from the show. He has, I think it is not controversial to say, been the most consistently funny host in several seasons.

Dick in a Box

The Barry Gibb Talk Show, with guests:
1. Thomas Friedman, Sandra Day O'Connor, Jimmy Carter
2. Nancy Pelosi, Bill Richardson, Ann Coulter
3. Arianna Huffington, Cruz Bustamante, Al Franken




A Message from Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson

The Leprechaun Sketch

(By the way, NBC has decided to go the other way on online content and instead make it very difficult to find their content. After all, they wouldn't want the unwashed masses to actually keep their shows on the air by getting people to watch them)



The $1,050 steak 

"It didn't even taste like steak." -- Mickey Rourke. One restaurant offers a 5 oz. burger version for $62.

What will NYC's trans fat ban mean for this kind of indulgence? Will the price go to infinity?

The price, per pound, is not unrivaled. Saffron can go for as much as $2,700/pound, and Beluga caviar for $2,400. Joe Pytka, owner of Bastide in Los Angeles, once paid $35,000 for a one kilogram white truffle.

UPDATE: A man in Hong King earlier this year paid £85,000 for a 1.51kg truffle. Is this conspicuous consumption? The article indicates not as he was not trying to signal his wealth to anyone, but is genuinely obsessed with truffles. [HT: Marginal Revolution]



We've got rankings (magazine edition) 

Top 15 Magazines (by revenue)

1. People
2. Better Homes and Gardens
3. Time
4. Sports Illustrated
5. TV Guide
6. Parade
7. Newsweek
8. Reader's Digest
9. Good Housekeeping
10. Woman's Day
11. Cosmopolitan
12. InStyle
13. Family Circle
14. USA Weekend
15. Us Weekly

BH&G? Really? Vogue is still Conde Nast's flagship (#18). Some other surprises are AARP The Magazine (#42), Architectural Digest (#51) just edging out Playboy (#52), and overall the number of exclusively golf-focused magazines (six in the top 300).



Dawn of the Grups? 

Has anyone else heard this term "grup"? From New York Magazine:
He owns eleven pairs of sneakers, hasn’t worn anything but jeans in a year, and won’t shut up about the latest Death Cab for Cutie CD. But he is no kid. He is among the ascendant breed of grown-up who has redefined adulthood as we once knew it and killed off the generation gap.

This is an obituary for the generation gap. It is a story about 40-year-old men and women who look, talk, act, and dress like people who are 22 years old. It’s not about a fad but about a phenomenon that looks to be permanent. It’s about the hedge-fund guy in Park Slope with the chunky square glasses, brown rock T-shirt, slight paunch, expensive jeans, Puma sneakers, and shoulder-slung messenger bag, with two kids squirming over his lap like itchy chimps at the Tea Lounge on Sunday morning. It’s about the mom in the low-slung Sevens and ankle boots and vaguely Berlin-art-scene blouse with the $800 stroller and the TV-screen-size Olsen-twins sunglasses perched on her head walking through Bryant Park listening to Death Cab for Cutie on her Nano.
Neko Case references also make a number of appearances.



The expanding middle class 

Reynolds continues by telling of a 2004 story in the Washington Post titled, "The Vanishing Middle-Class Job." The Post article pointed out that in 1967, nearly a quarter (22.3 percent) of households made between $35,000 and $49,999 in inflation-adjusted terms, but that that share was down to 15 percent by 2003. Reynolds notes that the same article showed that the percentage of U.S. households with a real income higher than $50,000 rose from 24.9 percent in 1967 to 44.1 percent in 2003. Moreover, the percentage with income lower than $35,000 fell from 52.8 percent to 40.9 percent. In other words, the "middle class" was shrinking because people were moving out of the Post's statically defined middle class into a higher income class.

That's from David Henderson's review of Alan Reynolds' new book, Income and Wealth, in TCSDaily.



We've got rankings 

Top Fifteen Media Markets

1. NY
2. LA
3. Chicago
4. Philadelphia
5. Boston
6. San Francisco
7. Dallas
8. DC
9. Atlanta
10. Houston
11. Detroit
12. Tampa
13. Seattle
14. Phoenix
15. Minneapolis

Cities such as Phoenix, Atlanta and Houston will continue to move up, while Cleveland (#16) and Detroit will be goners in another ten years. I'm shocked that Philly is still hanging strong.



One man's No Good, Rotten, Really Bad Day 

Back in May, The New Yorker ran a story of a Massachusetts psychotherapist who got taken in by a Nigerian advance-fee e-mail fraud, also known as a 419. You know the one. It starts out:

"Dear Sir/Madam, I have a fortune and I need your help to move it offshore in exchange for a substantial cut. I believe you are trustworthy"

The kicker is, after losing some $80,000 to the scam, this sucker was convicted in federal court of wire fraud (among other charges) for doing so.


Girls don't like you 

That's the subject line of the latest spam to get through my SpamGuard filter.

They were apparently trying to sell prescription meds.



The beat goes on... 

The Board of Health voted Tuesday to make New York the nation's first city first city to ban artery-clogging artificial trans fat at restaurants.

Whereas Chicago has bounced around the idea of doing this only for high revenue kitchens (read: fast-food chains), New York decided to throw out the baby with the frying oil. While I'm opposed to any kind of regulation of food, this clearly goes too far.

One question: will New York continue to be the culinary center of the country? Already standbys like Chicago, San Francisco and unlikely contenders such as Las Vegas and Atlanta are making credible bids as new centers of varied local and haute cuisine. Will this mark the death knell for the Big Apple's hegemony?

Side issue: it's worth noting that national chains like KFC, Wendy's, McD's and so on have already moved to or are experimenting with lower (trans) fat alternatives. This may be for three reasons:

1. Preempt such bans such as New York's which they see as inevitable. This will give them a leg up on any competition (fast food or otherwise) where these bans get put in place

2. Because of the the good PR that goes along with it.

3. Changing consumer demand patterns. People really are becoming more health conscious. You'll notice that McDonald's started offering nutritional information even before they were required to. Of course Subway has really leveraged the health-wary fast food diner.



Robot Chicken - "Wishes" Sketch with Weird Al 

The F**kin' short version -- Pulp Fiction edition 

A three minute condensed version of the, ahem, "crucial" parts of Pulp Fiction.

(Also, see The Big Lebowski version here).

[HT: Glumbert.com]


100 Greatest Living Songwriters 

As determined by Paste Magazine, here's the list.

Overall, the inclusions don't bother me much, but naturally the top spots are imminently debatable. Note: I am happy to see Outkast and T Bone Burnett make the cut, if only barely, at 99 and 100, respectively.

Here's them talking about the list on NPR.

One question: does anybody find any rhyme or reason to how they (dis)aggregate writers from their band and/or their regular collaborators?



Babe of the Week 


It really depends on who I've been hanging out with 

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland


North Central

The Inland North


The South

The Northeast

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

[HT: Daniel Drezner]


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