Monday, June 29, 2020

Political humor from Oz

You can find a bevy of these "juicemedia" videos on youtube. I also watched the Julian Assange one and found it hilarious and on target.

Warning: creative and enthusiastic profanity in an Ozzie accent.

Hat tip: former deputy dean

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Book: When a Toy Dog Became a Wolf and the Moon Broke Curfew ...

de Vries, Hendrika. 2019. When a Toy Dog Became a Wolf and the Moon Broke Curfew. She Writes Press.

This is a memoir about growing up in Amsterdam during the German occupation, including the winter of 1944 when food ran short and many died. It includes the author's idyllic childhood prior to the war as well as some years after, until her family migrates to Oz in search of better economic opportunities. I had not realized that the Dutch economy experienced such a slow recovery following the war.

The book is written as short chapters that, with a few exceptions, describe specific episodes. Introspecting about my own memories from the same ages that seems natural. As an adult, the author became interested in Jungian psychology and it shows in the combination of warmth and detachment with which she considers both her younger self and her parents. You really feel the texture of life under German occupation for a child. I enjoyed it quite a lot and learned from it as well.


Full disclosure. The author's husband's father is one of the (many) brothers of my mother's mother. I heard about the book from said husband during one of the weekly zoom "reunions" of (a subset of) my mother's side of the family that have been an unexpected positive side effect of the pandemic.

Bricks and Mortar bookstore where I purchased the book online.
She Writes Press book page. They also have a booked called She Rode a Harley. I am tempted.

Madison's Bartell Theater offers some commentary on this year of ours ...

It seems the virus has infected the operating system, so that it functions even worse than usual.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Economics moment of zen #15

From a draft consulting report:
"Even though we have no benchmark against which to compare this number, it is low."
I will leave the guilty unnamed as I wish for them to send me a cheque.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Book: Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe

Koe, Amanda Lee. 2013. Ministry of Moral Panic. Singapore: Epigram Books.

It seems like a different lifetime, but only six months ago I spent 10 days in Singapore, giving two seminars, and presenting and participating in a panel at the Asian and Australasian Society of Labor Economists meetings and, of course, shopping for books.

Amanda Koe Lee is apparently a star of Singaporean literature - "a distinctive literary voice for Singapore's contemporary condition" according to one of the blurbs on the back of the book. And the cover is bright pink, and the title is excellent and short stories are often a fine way to sample a new author. So I bought it and got around to reading it last month.

I found the stories a bit uneven. I quite enjoyed "The King of Caldecott Hill" about an aging television star and his groupie. I also liked "Alice, You Must Be the Fulcrum of Your Own Universe" about a young women and her vaguely mysterious older woman friend as well as "Every Park on this Island" about a female undergraduate who spends a summer dating a visiting American student. On the other hand, "Siren" seemed forced. Overall, the stories have a bit of a "writer's workshop" flavor to them, which has its costs as well as its benefits.

Did I gain some distinctly Singaporean insights (as opposed to generic insights in Singaporean settings)? The collection has some of both. I did learn some Singaporean social history too.

Recommended as something a bit different.

Amazon book page
Barnes and Noble book page
Bricks and mortar store (the one on Orchard Road) where I purchased the book. The store is part of an international chain; I have been to the one in Sydney as well.

Where do Trump 2020 socks come from?

From China, of course!

Hat tip: person who bought the socks as a gag gift ...

Friday, June 5, 2020

Economics moment of Zen #14

"Scott Imberman" rearranged => "Commits Banter"

Hat tip: Josh Goodman