Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for January 16th, 2008

Most overwrought movie ever?

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I just watched Duel in the Sun, and it certainly is the most overwrought movie I can recall seeing. According to the Wikipedia article, it had a plethora of directors:

It was directed by King Vidor, Otto Brower (uncredited), William Dieterle (uncredited), Sidney Franklin (uncredited), William Cameron Menzies (uncredited), David O. Selznick (uncredited) and Josef von Sternberg (uncredited).

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 11:55 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Bill O’Reilly: source of endless misinformation

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On last night’s O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly challenged John Edwards’ claim that 200,000 veterans “will go to sleep under bridges and on grates” because they are homeless. O’Reilly said, “They may be out there, but there’s not many of them out there. Okay? … If you know where’s a veteran, sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it.” The Washington Post checked into Edwards’ claim and reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs does indeed report that about 195,000 veterans are “homeless on any given night.”

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 10:30 am

Posted in Media

Drum machine

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NSFW unless you use headphones (or are alone in workplace). Here it is.

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 10:23 am

Very weird machines

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I would hate to have a nightmare with one of these chasing me.

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 10:17 am

Posted in Art, Technology

Thank God we’re subsidizing oil companies

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The poor things probably wouldn’t make it without all the tax breaks and other subsidies the GOP (and Congress in general) have doled out. For example:

Exxon Mobil
The oil giant racked up $39.5 billion in earnings last year, the largest-ever profit in U.S. history. That figure topped the previous record of $36.1 billion, also set by Exxon Mobil, in 2005. Profits were up 9.3% from the previous year, while sales rose 2.2%.

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 10:06 am

Minimal Yiddish

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Everyone should know some Yiddish.

The Yiddish language is a wonderful source of rich expressions, especially terms of endearment (and of course, complaints and insults). This article is a follow up on Ten Yiddish Expressions You Should Know. Jewish scriptwriters introduced many Yiddish words into popular culture, which often changed the original meanings drastically. You might be surprised to learn how much Yiddish you already speak, but also, how many familiar words actually mean something different in real Yiddish.

There is no universally accepted transliteration or spelling; the standard YIVO version is based on the Eastern European Klal Yiddish dialect, while many Yiddish words found in English came from Southern Yiddish dialects. In the 1930s, Yiddish was spoken by more than 10 million people, but by 1945, 75% of them were gone. Today, Yiddish is the language of over 100 newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts, and websites.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 10:01 am

Posted in Daily life, Education

Amazon’s free shipping: illegal in France

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The Tribunal de Grande Instance (a French appeals court) in Versailles ruled back in December that Amazon was violating the country’s 1981 Lang law with its free shipping offer. That law forbids booksellers from offering discounts of more than 5 percent off the list price, and Amazon was found to be exceeding that discount when the free shipping was factored in.

The company was told to start charging within ten days or pay a daily fine. It also owes €100,000 to the French Booksellers’ Union for the court battle and for the losses it has apparently caused them. With the holidays over and the ten-day grace period over, Amazon has officially announced its plan to ignore the court order and pay the fine instead, according to the International Herald Tribune.

Amazon can do so for 30 days (€30,000), but after that time the court will review the fine. They could raise it, or they could lower it, but given that Amazon has chosen to flip the justices the bird, guess which outcome is more likely? At some point, if Amazon doesn’t change its ways, the fine will probably be jacked up so high that the company has no choice but to comply.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, has taken to the virtual airwaves to rally the French public in support of Amazon’s free shipping. He sent out a recent e-mail to French customers in which he claimed that “France would be the only country in the world where the free delivery practiced by Amazon would be declared illegal.” He then asked people to sign an online petition that has so far garnered more than 120,000 signatures.

It’s a bold and potentially antagonistic move for an American company to make, but Amazon is serious about its free shipping. Judging from the response to Bezos’ e-mail so far, so are Amazon’s customers.

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 9:37 am

Posted in Business, Government

Healthcare systems

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ThinkProgress notes:

The conservative Heritage Foundation released its 2008 Index of Economic Freedom, in which the United States ranked fifth. Not mentioned in the report is the fact that the top four — Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, and Australia — all have universal health care, whereas U.S. businesses are forced to pay health care premiums that rose 98 percent between 2000 and 2007.

It should be noted that the sharp rise in healthcare premiums is due in large part to the incredible inefficiences of the current system as well as to the sick relationship between Big Pharma and Congress.

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 8:33 am

Payoffs all ’round

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Our Federal government now seems to be run by and for payoffs. Another one:

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), who was appointed to replace Trent Lott, “last year obtained a $6 million earmark for a defense contractor whose executives were among his top campaign contributors” and were represented in the matter by Wicker’s former chief of staff.

I’m still supporting John Edwards, who seems to have this sort of thing directly in his sights for change.

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 8:31 am

Posted in Business, Congress

More free on-line language learning

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The number of on-line resources for language learning continues to grow. The new one is Babbel [sic], but I’ve also mentioned Mango Languages and the Rosetta Stone courses that many libraries offer at no cost (through their on-line catalogs). Babbel limits itself to Spanish, English, French, German, and Italian. No Esperanto, alas. (It wouldn’t be that difficult to add, so come on, guys.)

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 8:19 am

Posted in Daily life, Education

Comparison shave

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I used the Treet Blue Special this morning—a fresh blade, to compare to the Zorrik. The lather was sumptuous, thanks to Edwin Jagger Sandalwood shaving cream and the Sabini ebony-handled brush. I loaded the blade into the Merkur HD and enjoyed a flawless three-pass shave: smooth, effortless, and—in a word—perfect. The aftershave was TOBS Sandalwood.

So far as the two blades, it’s hard for me to detect a difference. I’ll continue the experiment, shaving alternately with the two, and see whether a difference manifests itself. But for now—and for me—the Treet Blue Special and the Zorrik are neck and neck.

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2008 at 8:13 am

Posted in Shaving

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