27 December 2012

Vote Me Up on Twangle Please People I Just Need Four Hundred Eighty Two More Etc Etc


Everyone please take a minute right now to vote me up on Twammer – I just need 7,296 Affirmations to get a free drinking straw from Randy's Gourmet Cheeseburger Chalet in St. George, Utah.

For those unfamiliar with Twoogle, it is a really cool new social web platform for people with low self-esteem so they can sit in the sullen privacy of their own personal spaces and vote up or down on things or other people with serious issues who invade their internet realm and step (innocently or not) into the path of their Twoogle-zooka.

On Twingle every four up-votes equals one Affirmation; if you collect enough Affirmations you can trade them for Twinglets, which allow you power over other people or the ability to solve difficult problems in your life and sometimes cheap tickets to the ice rink.

Not on Twangle yet?  Join today!  If I get 64 more people to join I get 158 Twanglees added to my account.  That will put me in second place in my fantasy league and seriously bump my self-worth numbers up to the tippy-top of the Twiggle-sphere.

Twozzle is not for everyone, and if you're one of those people who can't stand critics and think you're all high-falutin because you read books, split your own firewood and own a kayak, you might want to just save your time and stay away.  On the other hand Twoodle is an excellent platform upon which to hook up with other book-splitting kayak lovers, so you may want to give it a shot.  YMMV.

But whether you are going all in on the social media revolution or dead set against it, I am in it up to my earholes and I need my Tworgle so please like me people, click on my thing for the love of god, I really haven’t got anything else going at this point.

19 December 2012

3D Movies: Let Me Say This About That


The subject of three-dimensional cinema has received considerable attention of late, albeit not from your columnist, who never understood the concept quite frankly.  I was under the impression that every movie ever made could be apprehended in three dimensions.  Is someone suggesting otherwise?  Foreground, background … any of these terms ring a bell?

I put it to you that although movie screens are indeed flat, never in the history of cinema has there been a true 2D movie.  What would it even look like?  Just splotches of color mashed up against the screen, or what?  Please, whether you be expert or speculator, explain to the group by Comment what a 2D movie looks like.

In fact just about every movie ever made is already in 4D, as the passage of time is an integral element of even the most basic plot.

As for the idea that having objects appear to float in the space between the viewer and the screen somehow adds to the movie-going experience, for now you can color me unconvinced.  3D in its current manifestation may have limited application in video games, "enhanced interrogations", or virtual crabbing*, but as far as adding anything of value to traditional cinema: meh.

In any event, from this point forward I refuse to even attempt to enjoy any movie that is projected in anything less than six dimensions.  Is that really so much to ask?  Come on Hollywood, step it up.  How about spending a little less on recycled star-vehicle TV show remakes and smash 'em up sequels and a little more on additional dimensions?

Before I leave you this evening, one request if I may:  I would pay good money to experience a nine-dimensional remake of Rocky III.  But I don't wanna wear any stupid goggles, and no more wires penetrating my skull, last time I had colossal head pains and I'm still crossing dimensions randomly ("and even my tennis has suffered actually").


*Would 'spelunking' be better here?  Vote now on Twimmer!

11 December 2012

Financial News: Dark Clouds in the Blogging Sector


The blogging business has been in a serious slump lately, as overcapacity fed by easy credit and illusions of perpetual growth has led to a collapse in the price of blogposts.  Meanwhile, growth in internet participation has stalled as people get sick of hacking their way through pop-ups and spamspray just to read the same old crap over and over, who needs it anyway and at today's prices.  However, with winter approaching many readers are working through excess inventory and orders for blogposts are expected to pick up in the fourth quarter.  This has put at least a temporary floor under blogstock valuations, though whether the next big breakout will be to the upside or the down remains to be seen.

A recent frenzy of mergers and acquisitions has seen larger blogs swallowing up smaller ones for pennies on the dollar, scaling up to make it through the next round of consolidations, leveraged buyouts and bankruptcies.  Size is everything these days.  Many smaller bloggers appear to be blogging at a loss and are therefore at the mercy of (being whipsawed by) fluctuations in the credit markets; even a small rise in interest rates could set off a chain reaction as blog after blog collapses under impossible debt loads and financing dries up for the remaining blog blogger bloggy blog-blogs.  This could frustrate many serial bloggers who, having published only the first four installments of a story, suddenly find themselves prematurely in Chapter 7.

Accusations of dumping shoddy posts at below cost have been hurled at the usual suspects, who for their part argue that the US safety net, by providing money and food stamps to the poor and underemployed, is actually an illegal indirect subsidy to the US blogging industry.  The case will be brought before the WTO soon and the ruling may very well not be in the US' favor.  Clearly the feeding of people who are not working at traditional jobs gives them the time and energy to get on the net and wail away.  Whether the judges will see it that way is another thing that cannot yet be observed, or to borrow a familiar phrase, remains to be seen.

Of course the fundamental fallacy here is the notion that blogs should compete on cost.  Blogs should compete on quality – the quality of the phrases and ideas they deploy, the quality of their breakfast buns, the quality of their ham-fisted attempts at satire and their daft bigfoot-hunting tips, not only the number of clicks they attract but the quality of the clicks, the quality of the readers of the blog and the thought that they put into every click, the temperature of their finger and the meaning of the click, that is really where the value of a blog resides and must continue to reside if we are to continue blogging our way forward towards world domination (with, however, a somewhat light touch).

For our part, this blog is a family run business.  It has been in the family for three generations and it ain't for sale at any price.  We don't take no government handouts and we certainly ain't lookin for no overseas tax shelter loophole thingies.  All we want is a level playing field, decent officiating, mandatory testing for performance-enhancing behaviors, an open-minded freedom-loving audience and no funny business at the weigh-in.

But the business climate and the overall economic environment of today present unprecedented challenges.  The proliferation of mobile devices offering ubiquitous high-speed internet access combined with global warming and the depletion of fisheries is creating a climate in which only through carefully controlling cost structure and taking advantage of efficiencies of scale can a blog hope to survive in this difficult economic environment, with topsoil depletion and ocean acidification presenting unprecedented challenges to the modern blogger.

Gotta run, looks like the cheese grater is free.  Thanks to our studio audience, and to our musical guests The Substantive Issues.  See you next time everyone, good night.

03 December 2012

Debt / Vote Buyback


 A win-win idea for the debt slaves and the overlords

Okay, we've got the whole massive debt overhang thing, with too many people up to their eyeballs in IOUs they cannot possibly ever pay back. 

Most of the debt is owned by rich folk, not all of it mind you, but the lion's share.

Meanwhile, many members of the moneyed classes have been feverishly attempting to buy the government, spending more every year and yet if the results of the recent elections are any indication, they are losing the ability to get what they are paying for.  Because poor people can still vote.

Do you see it yet, do you see where this is going (man)?  Each side has something the other is increasingly desperate to obtain.  At some point a deal will be struck along the following lines:

You can buy your way out of debt by selling your vote. 

Let's say in exchange for forgiveness of every $1000 of debt, you can sell your vote for one year in any election in which you are eligible to vote.  Or that's the minimum price, could be much more depending on the circumstances; we'll let the market work that out.

This way rich people could go ahead and buy the government if they really wanted, but to do it they would have to relieve poor folk of the crushing burden of indentured servitude.

The sellers would (arguably) be getting more out of this arrangement than they could possibly have ever gotten by mere voting.  Yes it may involve a loss of dignity for the poor schmuck selling his/her vote – but is this really any worse than the indignity of being a debt slave?  And the debt holders would get some return on what increasingly looks like a bunch of otherwise worthless paper.

How much did, say, Sheldon Adelson spend this year anyway?  By some estimates it was 'tens of millions', let's call it $25 million.  So under this system for that he could have bought 25,000 vote-years, not a huge number in the overall scheme but perhaps enough to swing a race here and there.  And knowing exactly what he would be getting for his money, he may have been motivated to spend much more.

Who loses here?  Mostly the consultants, advertising firms, and so on tasked with spending the political donations.  You mean [Political Pundit X] would be out of a job?  I know, cry me a river, right?  I'm sure he'll land on his feet, red and puffy as they may be.  If he falls behind on his payments he can always sell his vote, same as the rest of us.

Sure there are potentially some issues to be solved, such as the moral hazard created, though this may not even be a problem.  How many people would deliberately run up huge debts, knowing they never gave two chits about voting in the first place?  Quite a few perhaps, but this would have the positive effect of stimulating consumer spending, as boatloads of people with zero disposable income are suddenly back in the game.  (Also keep in mind that each citizen would have a natural 'credit limit' of how many future votes they could sell, based on actuarial tables.  Of course the only logical punishment for exceeding this limit would be death, but I'm sure we can come up with something better than that.)  In any case all the bills would be paid by people with plenty to spare, who are already spending that much or more every election cycle anyway, and meanwhile many people who currently do not participate in the civic process would be drawn in.  Okay they'd just be pulling the lever for somebody someone else told them to vote for, but that doesn't sound like such a big change to me.

People in swing states could sell their votes for more, and the least populous swing states would be the easiest to buy; this might encourage relocation of heavy debtors to certain states and even to specific districts, which could have undesirable side effects for local governments.  Maybe we would need to just get rid of the Electoral College and eliminate the whole swing state issue.  But I don't want to get too far into the weeds today; I'm just yammering away here, not writing legislation. 

Okay, your turn.  In the Comments section, please share your thoughts and feelings after reading this, or if you prefer, just say something snarky or rant a bit about whatever gets your goat, whether or not it has any relevance whatsoever to the topic at hand.