Monday, December 30, 2013

On the upcoming Winter Classic in the Big House

A helpful writer at explains how to interact with the visiting Canadians.

I will add two additional suggestions:

First, if they say "sorry" (which they will pronounce "sore-ee") ask them what they are sorry for. This will startle them, because they most likely are not actually sorry (and, in general, will not have done anything to be sorry about), and are just saying it as a sort of verbal tic.

Second, if you can find a way to work this in, ask them if they know who the first president of the United States is. Odds are they will. After they have correctly answered that question, ask them the name of the first prime minister of Canada. Odds are, they will either have no idea or will incorrectly answer "Wilfred Laurier", who was the seventh prime minister of Canada. The first prime minister of Canada was the heavy drinking Sir John A. MacDonald. Great fun for everyone.

Hat tip on the first suggestion to a Canadian friend.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

More reasons not to like the pledge of allegiance

The nice folks at, who sent along this bit from the Huffington Post, apparently view a socialist pedigree as a plus for the pledge. After all, what could go wrong when combining nationalism and socialism?

Personally, I like the fact that pledge is self-denouncing. A real "land of the free" would not require school children to recite pledges to a symbol of the state.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Assorted links

1. Walking around Ann Arbor on game day wearing an Ohio State t-shirt. How did that work out?

2. It's (ahem) hard to find good help, even at Michigan.

3. Beating up on the parking garage pay station: was the young woman impressed?

4. On Scrabble in Germany.

5. The FT on personal libraries.

Hat tip on #2 to Martha Bailey and on #3 to Charlie Brown.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Elizabeth summarizes recent trends in higher education

My six-year-old daughter shared the following ditty this morning, attributed to her friend Violet:
Girls go to college to get more knowledge.
Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.
An alternative version of the second line has:
Boys go to Mars to get more candy bars.
One wonders where Violet got this idea.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

David Neumark on the minimum wage

This is a really nice piece.

David has taken more than his share of knocks for criticizing the party line (of his party, so far as I know) on the minimum wage. He deserves a lot of credit for persisting with the whole science thing rather than moving on to study something else.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Washington hires Chris Petersen away from Boise State

Seems like hiring a coach who has gone 92-12 in the last eight years has got to be good. And one who is 2-0 against Oregon is even better.

Seattle Times coverage here and here and a nice piece by Dan Wetzel at Yahoo! Sports here. Comments from former Husky players here.

I think this is very good news for Husky football fans.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Trouble choosing a Christmas gift?

Then check out Dave Barry's holiday gift guide. Good (bizarre) stuff.

Say it isn't so!

ESPN has Washington coach Steve Sarkisian going to USC.

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Hat tip on the evil news: Ken Troske

Joy of slavery

WaPo columnist Dana Milbank pines for the days of involuntary servitude to the state and indirectly illustrates the problem with simplistic before-after comparisons as estimators of causal effects.

Are we really sure that nothing else has changed since the draft was ended in the early 1970s that might have brought about the changes he complains about?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Assorted links

1. Things that surprise people about the United States.

2. I am astounded that Blue Cross, Blue Shield would mock the administration, even this gently.

3. Suggests from the NYT on what to do with your sex toys when you get old.

4. The Dalai Lama on flatulence, among other things.

5. Chicago Maroon interview with columnist David Brooks.

Ohio State 42, Michigan 41

Michigan did much, much better than most anyone imagined they would do, and lost only due to a failed two-point conversion at the end of the game.

Well done, putting aside the player who got ejected, along with two Ohio players, for participating in an on-field skirmish around the end of the first quarter. One hopes that the would-be boxer from Ohio who flipped off the crowd (with both hands!) on his way out of the stadium after being ejected receives some additional sanctions from the university and/or the league and/or the NCAA. 

Washington 27, Washington State 17

Washington wins the Apple Cup and reaches its first eight-win season in more than a decade.


P.J. O'Rourke on baby boomers

Pretty good stuff. This was my favorite line:
There's much tut-tutting about bellicose national political deadlock. But it's an improvement on bellicose national political purpose.
There is, surprise, surprise, a new book on the same theme out next month. Buy why release a book right after the start of the new year?