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February 4, 2006

100 yahoo plaza, detroit, mi

Really, maybe I should stop with all the posting about the Yahoo! L'il Tiny Box of headlines:
• Detroit Lions haven't won title since 1957

Um, okay.

I guess if I had a Useless Random Trivia Generator, I'd let it write my headlines for me too.

You know, I haven't won the title since 1992, but when I won it, I won the shit out of it.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:08 AM

February 3, 2006

indiana toll road

May I just opine that this is an extraordinarily bad idea.  Bad idea like beer before liquor; bad idea like a dog eating glass.

It's a story of how Indiana is privatizing one of its proud toll roads, conveniently known as the "Indiana Toll Road" -- the one that shoots across from Ohio to Chicago.  The State of Indiana is planning of leasing the Toll Road to Macquarie Infrastructure, who will operate the Road for 75 years.

Why?  Well, Indiana wants the money, and claims that the whole venture of operating a toll road jut wasn't working out.  To wit:

Macquarie chief executive Stephen Allen said the toll road and its customers would benefit from having some "private-sector discipline."

I'm sorry to have to stick to my guns on this one, but I don't want my public infrastructure to operate under "private-sector discipline" anymore than I want to run my government "like a corporation".  This is not a high degree of difficulty.  Corporations and other business entities operate under one principal: profit.  You can call it "the free market", you can call it "Irene"; I don't care.  Corporations only exist to profit, and every other possible motivation only exists to the extent that it allows for profit.  Accordingly, and by its intrinsic nature, the absolute worst entity to oversee public infrastructure or any other public service venture is a corporation, as the purpose of infrastructure and any other public service is just that -- to serve the public.  And the obligation to serve the public should never ever be subordinated behind profit.

I know, it's awfully America-hating of me, but there actually is one little territory where the need to profit should be banished.

This mini-screed also correlates to the mini-screed entitled, "Corporations are so not more efficient than government, you fucking liars," which I'll table for another day.

I just hope the people of Indiana remember: the less that Macquarie actually spends on road maintenance, and the higher they push tolls, the happier Macquarie is.  They don't care about getting you back and forth to Notre Dame games.  They don't care about you at all, just your money.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:15 PM

i have a shitty dream

You know what I'd like to do someday?

Here's what I'd like to do.  I'd like to find some bar that's popular with the cool kids, maybe in Bushwick or that northie-eastie tip of Chinatown whose trendy name I forget (v. v. hot districts here in NYC), and then I'd like to cozy up to the owners, who are inevitably cutting edge and interesting, just like me, and then I'd like to convince them to let me "host" an evening at this bar, which will be a theme evening, where everyone cutting edge and interesting (like me) comes to drink socially and play some forgotten boardgame of our youth, like Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, or Clue.  Then, I could be interviewed by service magazines and the culture sections of daily newspapers about the v. v. hot districts and the cutting edge and interesting people me and my board-game-fan supporters are.

Man, if I could just do that, I'd be tickled.

[Full disclosure: Snark aside, I do host an evening at a bar.  It's called "Whiskey and Pool Night", wherein we drink whiskey and play pool.  Soon everyone will be doing it.]

Posted by mrbrent at 11:24 AM

February 2, 2006

asta, the dog

The dog has been named, and everyone who guessed was wrong.  Her name is Asta, which is not, as you would expect, after the male pet dog of Nick and Nora Charles, but rather short for Astaphelia Jackson, one of our great 50s B actresses who later held a seat in the California State Senate for some time.

Asta is very fierce -- be sure to count your fingers and toes after you pet her, and try not to be in the same room when she's feeding.  Also, she speaks Greek and Cantonese and can dance a mean tarentella.

After today's news, we are resting quietly with Asta, probing her for "special goodies".

That's quite enough of that.  Back to not much about me at all.

Posted by mrbrent at 6:52 PM

February 1, 2006

state of the union and sartiorial choices

So I did not watch the SOTU last night.  But I did listen to the portions of it broadcast on Sam Seder's Majority Report>/a> radio program, which was attempting to do a little MST3K job on it (only partially successful).  Consequently, I did hear enough of the SOTU that I've a better feel for it than I would have had I read the transcript.

Having said that, I have not yet fully computed the fucker.  Obviously, the visceral reactions were about what you'd expect.  But the speech itself represents the Administration "tacking", as the sailors do, and I haven't yet figured from where to what.

So I'm gonna think on it.

Actually, my gut says that this year's SOTU represents the final cleaving of the connection between rhetoric and reality, the Administration's realization that they no longer need facts, intents or actions to back up anything they say out loud.  That public statements only exist to manipulate the electorate, and only fools think otherwise; only cream and bastards rise.

But I could be wrong, of course.

If you'd like something more conclusive and entertaining, then please be advised that last night Cindy Sheehan was arrested for wearing a T-shirt.  What could be more entertaining (and American!) than getting arrested for wearing a T-shirt?  What's the State of our Union?  Partly Orwell, which a sixty percent chance of Soviet Union by nightfall.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:21 AM

January 31, 2006

oil addiction

I'm not sure if the Yahoo! Headline Corral is demonstrating a highly developed sense of irony, or if the President is:
• Bush to say 'America is addicted to oil'

Or maybe the rest of that hed is, "he sniggered fiendishly as he contemplated both the millions he made from bad oil start-ups in the 70s and the secret meetings with polluters his Vice President had in 2001."

Yeah, I was thinking of maybe of watching the SOTU tonight, but after today's bumper crop of depressing news, I might just instead roll myself down a big hill in a box full of rusty knives.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:37 PM

January 30, 2006

name my dog before someone else does

This morning I shared a train with the Ricola Mystery Gum-Snapping Mouth Breather.  No, I did not win a million bucks.

And as long as I'm breaking my own enough-about-myself rule, I'd like to ask for a little help.  My household is suddenly in possession of a nine-week old Boston Terrier.  Actually, it's not so much about possession as it is that this little Boston is the latest entity whose room, board and welfare is of direct concern.  Anyhoo, she's about as cute as the cuteness design parameters of Boston Terriers allow, but we've yet to find a name that fits her.  We've thought about "Miss Wanda Jackson", and "Myrna Loy", but we are not convinced.  We've also been recommended "Oreo" and "Lady".  We were not amused.

If you'd like to suggest a name, please send it along to titivil at titivil dot com.  No, you do not win anything, not even if we use your name.  Though we have one aggrieved, formerly-sole pet cat that might be up for grabs if he does not get his shit correct.

[UPDATE: 1.31.06]  Thank you for your responses.  So far, proper names have been very popular, though I guess I invited that with "Wanda Jackson" and "Myrna Loy".  Candidates include "Honoria Glossup", "Dan Gunderman" and "Eartha Kitt".  Oh, and "Kathy".  We're not sure.  I'm starting to favor naming her after an object, like "Suspension Bridge" or "Vacation Bible School", though I should probably save that for a band.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:35 AM