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July 2008

July 31, 2008

At Duke the kids have a saying . . .

. . . "Don't Be Dumb!"

(Note DBD = Duke Blue Devils. They're clever, those Dukies.)

They'll soon be adding "Especially around Professor Munger." Premeditated stupidity seems to irritate him.

"Who says American ingenuity is dead?"

Asks Michael Greenspan, as he sends the link to this.

Extra points for Steppenwolf on the soundtrack.

More "news you can use" from the Door

"Top 10 Outdoor Survival Tools".

"9 Outrageously Handy Websites Everyone Should Try" (but I haven't tried any yet).

"The NBA Wonderlic Test"

Stay away if you don't follow the NBA pretty closely or are easily offended. Otherwise, it's pretty funny.

I knew we should be calling him Gore-Al

"Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet". (The Onion.)

July 30, 2008

One big cause of America's increasing inequality

I am so glad to know that not all the inequality in the U.S. is due to evil hedge-fund managers, evil bankers, and evil speculators. (And Peter Coyote then asks the superstars to share the wealth. Read the whole thing.)

Since 1990 the earnings of the top leading actors have increased exponentially while the salaries of nearly all other actors have been systematically driven down.  In many cases, the earnings of established character actors have been rolled back by 60-70 percent.  This occurs, in large part, because the working professional (as opposed to the star) is at a disadvantage when negotiating in the new corporatized production environment. We do not possess a unique, marketable (and often media exploited) brand, and consequently lack the power to make or break the existence or profitability of a film. Consequently, respected, veteran actors with numerous credits and hard-earned “quotes” now routinely receive "take-it-or-leave it" offers, often at “scale”---a beginners wage.

Note: If Radar's recent report, "Who Killed the Movie Star? Hollywood's A-List Idols Are Losing Their Movie-Selling Mojo", is right, the situation he is decrying won't last much longer.

Remember where you heard it first

I think there's a small--but nontrivial--chance that McCain will win a majority of the electoral college while losing the popular vote.

Which would bring forth the by-now familiar shrill calls to abolish the electoral college. Jeff Jacoby reminds us why that would be a bad move (Boston Globe, July 16.)

More purported transactions prices for cars

Six months ago I linked to a relatively new site that was collecting and posting "real prices from real people" about cars.

Now there's at least one more such site, Open Car Price: "Find out the 'actual selling prices' from people who recently bought a new car!"

This could be good. We at the Door support almost anything that would make buying a new car more pleasant.

Southwest Airlines: making it look easy

Joe Brancatelli:

By some estimates, the country's major carriers have consumed perhaps $100 billion in capital during the past decade, but Southwest Airlines continues to be profitable. It's been in the black for 33 consecutive years . . . Its balance sheet, with about $3 billion in cash on hand and $600 million in available credit, is the envy of an otherwise fuel-price-ravaged industry.

Michael Lewis snarkily predicts worse is coming for the airlines.

Some useful life advice

"16 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School".

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